<body>

Scallion Pancakes



葱油饼 (cong you bing), or scallion pancake, is served alongside dipping sauce as an appetizer at some Chinese restaurants. It is delicious. It's made by rolling a disc of dough into a cigar, and then twisting it into a coil which is again rolled out, forming lots of flaky layers. It's then pan-fried in oil, so that the outside is really crisp while the inside is flaky, soft, and filled with salty scallion goodness. So yeah, you usually order it as an appetizer, but I could definitely eat a whole stack for dinner. Or any time of the day. They're very good wrapped around barbecued anything, as well.

It's pretty simple to do, too. It's not a quick recipe, but rolling out the dough takes up a majority of the time. You could just buy a frozen package of these from your local Asian grocery, but those store-bought pancakes won't come close to the deliciousness of home-made ones. You can even stack these between wax paper or plastic wrap and stick them in the freezer for up to a month, and just throw them into a pan when you want them.

Scallion Pancakes

2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of warm water, plus some extra
3 scallions, thinly sliced
kosher salt
vegetable oil or vegetable shortening (shortening will give you a slightly flakier pancake. mm.)

Start off by making your dough. I like to do it in a food processor because I'm lazy, but you could just as easily do it by hand. Start off by adding 1/2 cup of warm water to the flour and incorporating well. Gradually add water in teaspoon increments until the dough is pliable and easily comes off the sides of the bowl. You want the dough to be just barely sticky, but not rock-hard. Cover with a damp tea towel and let sit for 30 minutes so the dough can relax.

Next, roll the dough out with your hands into a semblance of a log, and divide into six pieces. Take one piece out and cover what you're not using. Roll it out into a round about 10" across, then brush with oil or shortening, sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and plenty of scallions (the more, the better!). Pick up one end of the round and begin rolling it into a tight little cigar.



Pinch the ends of the cigar to seal them, and then twist the dough around itself until it forms a spiral. Press this down.



Roll this out again into 8 - 10" round. Don't go too thin, otherwise all the layers will smoosh together. 1/8" thickness should do. Heat up a non-stick or cast iron pan on medium heat, and add enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the pan. Oil = crispiness, which is what we want. Don't skimp!

When the oil is hot enough so that a small piece of dough starts sizzling immediately after being added, throw in one of your pancakes. Cook for about 3 - 4 minutes a side, turning over when it's golden brown.



Drain the cooked pancake on a paper towel, and slice into wedges when you're ready to serve. These are great by themselves, but you can also mix up a little sauce of soy sauce, rice vinegar and ginger if you'd like. Enjoy!

Labels: , , ,

Links to this post

Fresh Corn Soup



This is a really easy way to take advantage of the fresh corn that's coming into season right about now. I used shallots instead of onions, and of course this was another great excuse to use my immersion blender. It's better to use yellow corn for this recipe -- some reviewers noted that using white corn caused the soup to turn out an unappetizing gray color. Either way, this soup came out creamy and was just heavy enough to be satisfying. I love summer!

Fresh Corn Soup
Bon Appetit

1 tsp corn oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small fresh poblano chili or anaheim chili, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin

6 ears corn
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, chili, garlic and cumin and sauté until onion and chili are tender, about 10 minutes.

Cut corn kernels from cobs. Add corn to pot. Stir in chicken broth. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until corn is very tender, about 45 minutes or less Transfer to processor and purée. Add enough milk to thin to desired consistency. Return to pot; stir to heat through (do not boil). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls; garnish with cilantro and serve.

Labels: , ,

Links to this post

Strawberry Jam Two Ways



Have you ever heard of Weck? They originated in Germany, and make the proshest canning jars. The sealing mechanism is a little different from the Ball jars that you usually see; The lid and jar are made of glass, and there is a non-reusable rubber ring that fits between the two. You fill the jar up as usual, and use a pair of clamps to hold the lid onto the jar while the cans are processed. The jars must cool completely, and then you can remove the clamps. If a vacuum formed, you should be able to pick up the jar by the lid alone. The tongue of the rubber gasket should point down a little, too. To remove the lid, you just pull on the tongue. You should hear a little psssst sound as the vacuum is broken. More detailed instructions are available on their website, along with order information.

We took advantage of the break in the heat wave last weekend and went strawberry picking. It was a perfect day for picking - overcast and the temperature was just right!



This year, we held back and only picked 10 lbs! It made about 12 8oz jars of jam. I decided to tweak last year's recipe; this time, I made two batches. I substituted a combination of 1 tbsp lemon juice/2 tbsp balsalmic vinegar for the straight lemon juice of the original.

I added 6 mint leaves and 10 grinds of black pepper to the second batch near the end of the cooking time, removing the mint leaves before I ladled the jam into the jars (inspired by Chocolate & Zucchini's recipe).

The balsalmic strawberry jam added a deeper flavor to the jam. The mint and pepper can only just be tasted, and lend a fresh and midly spicy taste to the jam. It's really very good - don't let the mint scare you away!

Strawberry Jam

3 lb. ripe strawberries (4 1/2 pints), rinsed and hulled
3 cups sugar (you can use a little less if the fruit is very ripe)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Special equipment: eight or nine 8-oz canning jars with lids, funnel, clamp or tongs

To wash the berries, gently scoop them into a sink filled with water. Swish them around a little, and let them sit for a while. The dirt should fall to the bottom of the sink.

Hull and quarter the berries. Put them in a deep pot made of non-reactive material (stainless steel works well). Make sure that there is enough room in your pot! If there is less than 5" between your berries and the top of your pot, you might have a rather anxious time of it. When the jam boils, lots of air bubbles are trapped in the dense liquid, which will begin to rise very quickly.Pour on the sugar and lemon juice, and mix well with a wooden spoon. Cover the pot and let the berries macerate for about two hours. If you like your jam smoother, you can mash them with a potato masher instead.

While the berries macerate, wash your jars and set them in the oven. They should be in there for at least half an hour. Wash the lids and rings, and set the rings aside. Put the lids in a pot of boiling water to sterilize them, and to make the rubber around the edges a little more pliable.

Bring the pot of strawberries to a full boil (you need to boil off the liquid to achieve a jammy consistency). Make sure to stir often (with your wooden spoon) and skim off any foam from the surface. The foam will make your jam cloudy if it's left in the pot, although you can eat it separately.

After half an hour of boiling, your jam should be just about ready. Don't boil the jam for more than 40 minutes, however, otherwise the pectin in the fruit will break down and the jam will turn dark.You can test the consistency of the jam by chilling a plate in your freezer. Spoon a little bit of jam onto the plate, and check the thickness of the jam once it has cooled.

Take a jar out of the oven and ladle the jam in until within 1/4" of the rim. Wipe any jam off the rim with a damp towel, and use tongs to take a lid out of your pot of boiling water and put it on the jar. Quickly screw a ring over the lid (it has to be tight enough to hold the lid onto the jar). Repeat this process until you fill up all of your jars.

Put the jars into a deep pot filled with boiling water; make sure the water reaches above the rim of the jar lids. Cover, and let the jars boil for ten minutes. Remove the jars with tongs and let them cool on the counter. The lids should begin to pop within minutes. If you have any lids that didn't seal, throw them out or eat immediately.

Labels: , , , , ,

Links to this post

Avocado and Watercress Salad



I've been on a bit of a health kick recently. Been going to the gym every day, taking spinning classes twice a week and I've been trying to eat healthier, too. This salad just oozes healthfulness, and makes for a pretty amazing light lunch when eaten with a couple slices of toasted six grain bread.

It's all in the dressing; the onion and apple give it the hint of sweetness, and also add a little texture. The soy sauce and rice vinegar base really contrast well with the spiciness of the watercress and the creaminess of the avocado -- it almost tastes like the wasabi/soy combo you get with sushi. The crisp/creamy contrast of the watercress and avocado isn't bad either.

Instead of going to the bother of grating the apple and onion, I just tossed everything into a tall glass and used my immersion blender.

Avocado and Watercress Salad
Gourmet, May 2008

1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned, although seasoned won't kill this recipe)
1 tbsp grated sweet onion (use large holes of a grater)
1/4 cup finely grated peeled Gala apple (use small holes of a grater)
4 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp vegetable oil
6 cups watercress (thin stems and leaves only)
1 firm-ripe avocado

Stir together vinegar, onion, apple, soy sauce and sugar until the sugar has dissolved, then stir in oil.

Just before serving, toss watercress with enough dressing to coat. Quarter, pit, and peel avocado, then cut crosswise into 1/4" slices. Gently toss with watercress.

Makes 6 servings.

Labels: , , ,

Links to this post

Quinoa with Moroccan Winter Squash Stew



February is almost over, but winter is still hanging on in Cleveland. There's a thick blanket of snow on the ground, and a distinct lack of good produce to be found; I've just about eaten my share of potatoes and I don't think I can bear to look at another apple. Unfortunately, the farmers market doesn't start until April -- and we won't see any local tomatoes until late May, at the earliest! What's a girl to do?

Fall back on an old favorite, butternut squash. But rather than simply roasting it, why not go for something with punch? This moroccan stew calls for almost a pantryful of spices, but they meld together in a way that makes this dish incredibly satisfying. And the colors -- the colors! They'll add a little sunshine to any overcast day.

Quinoa with Moroccan Winter Squash Stew:

(slightly modified from Bon Appetit)



For the stew:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of saffron
1 cup water
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 cups 1" cubes of butternut squash (from a 1.5lb squash)
2 cups 3/4" cubes of carrots

For the quinoa:
1 cup quinoa
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 cups water
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

For the stew:
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; saute until soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Mix in paprika and next 8 ingredients. Add 1 cup water, tomatoes, and lemon juice. Bring to boil. Add squash and carrots. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

For the quinoa:
Rinse quinoa; drain. Melt butter with oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and carrot. Cover; cook until vegetables begin to brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and turmeric; saute 1 minute. Add quinoa; stir 1 minute. Add 2 cups water. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

Rewarm stew. Stir in half of the parsley. Spoon quinoa onto platter, forming well in the center. Spoon stew into well. Sprinkle over remaining parsley.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.
(although, it was so tasty that we ended up polishing off most of it for lunch)

Bon Appétit, January 2006

Labels: , , , ,

Links to this post

Butternut Squash Risotto



Aah, risotto. Some years back, when I was a young and naive undergraduate, I had never heard of risotto. It was a shame, really, because I love congee (perhaps the ultimate Asian comfort food) -- which is very similar, except it's a little runnier toppings go onto the finish product, instead of being mixed in at the end of cooking. Oh, it's delicious. This risotto was one of the first things Daniel cooked for me -- and I knew straight away that something special was going on.

This particular risotto is good because it's simple. Not a whole lot goes into it, but the individual flavors really come through. And don't be scared off because you've heard risotto is so time-consuming -- at the most, this recipe will take you an hour to throw together, and every minute is worth it.

Butternut Squash Risotto

1 large butternut squash (~2 lbs), peeled, seeded, chopped into 1/2" chunks
4 tbsp olive oil

6 cups vegetable broth

3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place squash on large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Roast until tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Bring stock to simmer in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat to very low; cover and keep stock warm.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in another heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leeks and sauté until soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine and simmer until absorbed, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup hot stock; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining stock 1/2 cup at a time, allowing stock to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently, until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, about 25 minutes longer. Add roasted squash, cream, Parmesan cheese and sage; stir until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.


Bon Appétit, December 1999
Serves 4 as a main course.

Labels: , , , ,

Links to this post

Seven-Year Granola



I love to eat granola (crunchy, sweet AND good for me? yes, please!), but I don't buy it very often because it is so expensive pre-made. I hadn't really thought of making it myself until Melissa from the Traveling Lunchbox posted this recipe for her Seven-Year Granola. If she had spent seven years perfecting this recipe, I felt it was my duty to at least try it out. The verdict? A-mazing. And making it was so easy that I'm never going to contemplate buying it from a store again!

Now, the recipe does say to add any dried fruit after the granola is done baking, but I think this depends on the moisture content of your fruit. I was using blueberries, which were very damp, so I added them before baking and they held up well. I also used sliced almonds and pumpkin seeds for the nuts. And do make sure that you use quick oats, not old-fashioned rolled oats. Quick oats are processed longer than the rolled ones, so they're much lighter and cook more quickly.

Seven-Year Granola

1 lb. (450g) quick oats
3 cups coarsely chopped raw nuts and/or seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground mace
1 cup, packed (200g) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (115g/1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (80ml) water
1/2 tsp fine salt
2 tsps vanilla extract
dried fruit, at your discretion

Preheat the oven to 300F/150C. In a food processor, coffee grinder or blender, grind half the oats to a fine powder. In a large bowl, combine the whole oats, ground oats, nuts and seeds. In a microwave-safe bowl (or in a saucepan over medium heat), combine the brown sugar, butter and water and heat just until the butter has melted and the mixture is bubbly. Stir the mixture together until smooth, then stir in the salt and vanilla. Pour this mixture over the oats and nuts, stirring well to coat (I usually do this with my hands). Let stand for about ten minutes.

Spread the mixture out on a large baking sheet, separating it into irregular clumps with your fingers, and allowing space between the clumps for the hot air to circulate. Slide into the middle of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and stir, gently breaking up the mixture into small-to-medium sized clumps. Return to the oven and bake another 15 minutes or so before stirring again. Repeat the bake-and-stir until the mixture is a uniform golden brown and completely dry; this usually takes 1-1 1/2 hours. Cool completely, then stir in any dried dried fruit you want to use.

Store in a covered container at room temperature. Serve with milk or plain yogurt and fresh fruit as desired.

Labels: , , ,

Links to this post

Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa



The quinoa gives this recipe a lovely chewy texture, and the lime and cilantro add a freshy fresh taste. When you prepare the quinoa, they'll plump up and burst out of their little shells (don't be surprised by the little sprouts).


Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa


2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup quinoa
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.

Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don't worry if lid doesn't fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.

Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.


Makes 4 side dish servings.


Gourmet, July 2007.

Labels: , , , ,

Links to this post

Almond Torte with Sugared Apricots



This torte will rock your socks off. No, really, it will. I recommend that you run out to a grocery store and buy the ingredients immediately, and buy enough for double the recipe, because you'll probably find yourself craving it again later in the week. Chances are you won't find ground blanched almonds, but you can grind whole blanched almonds in either a clean coffee grinder or food processor. If you accidentally grind for too long, and the almond ends up clumping together, just throw the almonds in with the wet ingredients instead of the dry.

This recipe is from the always amazing Molly.

Almond Torte with Sugared Apricots

1/3 cup finely ground blanched almonds
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large egss

6 ripe apricots, halved and pitted (or 1 can halved apricots)
1 - 2 tbsp granulated sugar

Set an oven rack in the middle position, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In another medium bowl (or the bowl of stand mixer), beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the dry ingredients and the eggs and beat to combine, scraping down the bowl as needed. Do not overmix. The batter will be pale yellow and very thick.

Pour and scrape the batter into an ungreased 9-inch springform pan(cover the base of the pan with parchment paperand clamp the pan sides on top of the paper, then tear off the excess), and use a rubber spatula to spread it evenly. Arrange the apricots cut-side-up on top of the batter, and sprinkle them with sugar. If they’re particularly sweet, you should only need about 1 tablespoon, but if they’re only so-so, you might want up to two.

Slide the pan into the oven, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Do not overbake. Remove from the oven, and let cool on a wire rack. Run a thin knife around the perimeter of the cake; then release the sides of the pan. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm, preferably with vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Links to this post

Double Potato and Halloumi Bake



Some of my favorite foods include stews, risottos, and roasts. Unfortunately, it's always too hot in the summer to even attempt any of these (who wants to turn the oven on when it's 90 degrees out?). But as soon as the temperature starts to dip, I'm whipping out the arborio rice and the roasting pans. We made this dish recently to bring to accompany some delicious steaks (thanks, Jack!). This recipe is a tried-and-true favorite, done up in true Nigella style with simple ingredients and a super-fast prep time. You don't even have to peel the garlic cloves! But please don't skimp on the halloumi, and do eat it as soon as you can without burning the roof of your mouth off.

Double Potato and Halloumi Bake:

Serves 6

1 large sweet potato
1 large Desiree potato, or other red/firm potato
1 red onion
1 yellow pepper
1 red peppers
1/2 head Garlic
4 tbsp Olive oil
1 pinch Pepper
125g halloumi cheese, sliced as thinly as you can

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Cut the sweet potato into rough 1.5" cubes and the Desiree slightly smaller (1") as the sweet potato will cook more quickly.

3. Halve the red onion then cut the half into 4-6 segments, discarding any tough outer skin.

4. De-seed the peppers and cut into 1" squares, and separate the cloves of garlic.

5. Put everything into a large roasting tin or whatever you want to use (it should be big, otherwise use two dishes) and, using your hands, give the vegetables a good coating of olive oil. Season with black pepper, but no salt as the cheese will make it salty (and anyway, the salt will make water leech out).

6. Cook for 45 minutes, by which time the vegetables should be cooked through and here and there tinged with brown.

7. You'll need to turn the oven up to maximum, or light the grill for the endgame: so place the thinly sliced cheese on top of the bake, and put it back in the very hot oven or under the grill until the cheese has melted and turned slightly brown on top, about 5-10 minutes. Serve straight out of the roasting tin.




Recipe originally from Nigella Bites. She states that the recipe feeds 3, but if you're using this as a side dish, you'll easily get at least 6 servings out of it.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Links to this post

Bread Pudding with Orange Marmalade



Bread pudding always makes for a satisfying dessert (there's something inherently comforting about the almost creamy texture of the bread, which also contrasts nicely with the caramelized top), but the marmalade kicks it all up a notch. You could substitute another jam for the marmalade, also.

If you really want to impress your friends, but don't want to spend a lot of time doing it, this bread pudding is the perfect dish. You won't even need to splurge on the ingredients; you probably have all this stuff sitting in the pantry. We used 2% milk instead of cream without any ill effects. Demerera sugar is often referred to as natural or cane sugar here in the states.



Bread and Marmalade Pudding Recipe

Stale sliced bread
Softened butter
Seville orange marmalade (you could also use a jam or jelly)
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1/4 cup caster sugar
Demerara sugar, for topping

Slice the crusts from the bread slices - butter one side only of the bread and then coat each with a little marmalade.

Arrange the bread buttered side up in a baking dish - you should have enough bread to form two layers. Don't try to make a uniform arrangement of the slices, a patchwork type pattern is best.

In a bowl, add the eggs, cream, milk and caster sugar and lightly whisk until just combined. Pour this over the bread, making sure all the bread is coated by the liquid. Let this sit for 15 minutes to make sure that the bread has fully absorbed the liquid.

pudding ready for the oven

Sprinkle generously with Demerara sugar (this caramelises as the pudding cooks to give a nice crunch to the top) and then bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven for about 45 - 60 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

It will puff quite a lot, a bit like a soufflé but it will deflate once out of the oven - make sure your baking dish is deep enough to contain this expansion.

This is best eaten warm from the oven.



Original recipe is from Haalo in Australia

Bread is from Corbo's Bakery in Little Italy | 12200 Mayfield Road | Cleveland Ohio | 44106

Labels: , , , , , ,

Links to this post

Blackberry and Lemon Verbena Sorbet



A pound of blackberries from the farmers' market ended up in the refrigerator this weekend, which led to a midweek panic when they started to go bad. This wasn't a huge problem really, because Susan and I both spend our weeks with graduate students and graduate students are powerless to offers of free food. (Thank you Melanie, Dan and Vaishnavi for volunteering to stuff your faces.)

I had planned to simply sprinkle the berries with sugar and finely chopped lemon verbena, then thought about revisiting the dutch baby pancakes and tossing the blackberries with a lemon verbena syrup. In the end, though, I threw the berries in a pot with the verbena syrup, boiled everything to a sugary mess and bought the cheapest ice cream maker I could find

Blackberry and Lemon Verbena Sorbet

1 cup water
1 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
10 fresh lemon verbena leaves
1 pound fresh blackberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Bring the water to boil in a saucepan then remove from heat and stir in the sugar. When the sugar has dissolved, add the lemon verbena leaves and steep for half an hour. After steeping, strain the sugar syrup, discard the verbena leaves and place the syrup in a covered container in the refrigerator until cold.

Now throw the blackberries and lemon verbena syrup into a saucepan and boil the mixture for a few minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes, then pour the contents into a blender and puree until smooth. Now strain the mixture to remove the blackberry seeds--there should be about half a cup of them. Add lemon juice and refrigerate overnight.

Now follow the instructions for your ice cream maker and when finished dump the sorbet into a very cold container and freeze it until firm, about 5 hours. Sorbet will be the consistency of soft ice cream and I recommend serving it in frosted glasses.

Makes about 4 cups.




Sorbet Recipe
from Lynn in Georgia

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Links to this post

Potato Salad with Ginger and Cilantro



Every dish at the potluck last week was amazing, and we still managed plenty of compliments because of this potato salad recipe. We hadn't made the recipe before, but the additions of ginger and cilantro encouraged us to try it and the results were great. If you're tired of dill in your potato salads, give this a try. You'll be the talk of the potluck.

Potato Salad with Ginger and Cilantro

3 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes

1 cup chopped shallots (about 3)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups (packed) roughly chopped cilantro leaves

Boil potatoes until cooked through, about 25 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours. Can be made 1 day ahead.

Puree shallots, mayonnaise, ginger, and lemon juice in a food processor. Transfer puree to a small bowl and stir in 1 1/2 cups cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Peel potatoes and cut them into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in large bowl, add dressing, and toss to coat. Refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with remaining cilantro and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe from Bon Appétit August 2004

Labels: , , , , ,

Links to this post

Simple Sugar Snap Peas



Last week at the market, lots of farmers were selling quarts of sugar snap peas and I couldn't resist their shiny pods and cute little crowns. Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of losing things in the fridge, so these little guys sat a week in the crisper. I did remember them today, though.

Snap peas are very similar to the snow pea, but they have rounder pods and are much sweeter. They're better for you than regular peas, as they have a lower sugar and fat content. They also benefit from simple preparation, so it's a win-win!

Sugar Snap Peas with Toasted Sesame Seeds

1 pound sugar snap peas, stringed
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Sesame seeds need to be toasted for their flavor to be released. Even if you bought pre-toasted sesame seeds, it's a good idea to toast them again before you throw them in with the snap peas. It's also important to buy toasted sesame oil, which is more fragrant than untoasted sesame oil. Toasting your own sesame seeds is very easy; heat up a small, dry saucepan on the stove and add your sesame seeds. When the seeds have begun to brown, you can remove them from the heat. This should take about 5 to 7 minutes at a medium-low heat.

To string the snap peas, pinch the crowned end of the bean (the part that attaches to the plant) and gently pull down the length of the bean. You want the tip to snap off, and to remove the fibrous section along the inner curve of the bean (the string).

Steam the snap peas for three minutes, until they are tender-crisp. Transfer to a bowl, and toss with sesame seeds and oil. Salt and pepper to taste (we like to add lots of freshly ground black pepper -- it gives the dish a nice kick).



Bon Appétit, April 2000

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Links to this post

Elise's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies



We live in a four-story apartment building and the hallways here are unusually good at showcasing the smells of our floormates' dinners. It's a terrible thing to come home, starving, and be accosted by suggestions of pot roast or pie from a neighbor's kitchen. But trust me when I say, these cookies will make you the envy of your apartment building.

The recipe is from Elise at Simply Recipes. It is reprinted below, but you can read the original post here.

Elise's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Makes about 18 large chewy oatmeal raisin cookies.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups rolled oats (We use Quaker Quick or Old Fashioned. Do NOT use instant.)
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or waxed paper.

2 Either by hand or with electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.

3 Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg together in medium bowl. Stir dry ingredients into butter-sugar mixture. Stir in oats, raisins and optional walnuts.

4 Working with generous 2 tablespoons of dough each time, roll dough into 2-inch balls. Place balls on parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between each ball.

5 Bake until cookie edges turn golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool on cooling at least 30 minutes before peeling cookie from parchment.

If you prefer a less sweet cookie, you can reduce the white sugar by one-quarter cup, but you will lose some crispness. Do not overbake these cookies. The edges should be brown, but the rest of the cookie should be very light in color. The trick to making the cookies chewy is to make them large. Smaller cookies tend to get more dried out and crisp, and therefore not as chewy.

Labels: , , , , ,

Links to this post

Lemon and Asparagus Risotto



Minnah came and stayed with us a few days this week. She's good at giving encouragement in the kitchen, so we did a lot of cooking. This recipe is for a lemon asparagus risotto inspired by a recipe from Nigella Bites by Nigella Lawson(You can read some of Nigella's recipes for free at her website nigella.com. Though I don't think this risotto recipe is available there.) I replaced shallot and celery with leek for less punchy flavors that wouldn't compete with our fresh-from-the-farm-market asparagus.

Lemon and Asparagus Risotto

Makes 4 servings

2 large leeks
6 stalks of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (can be replaced with additional olive oil)
1 1/3 risotto rice (I like Arborio)
approx. 1 quart vegetable stock
zest and juice of 1/2 unwaxed lemon
needles from 2 small sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 egg yolk
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan (I like Grana Padano instead)
4 tablespoons heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

First prepare the leeks. Trim off the roots, leaving the bulb end intact, and cut off all the dark green tops, leaving about 2 inches of pale green stem and all the white part. Halve the leeks lengthwise and splay open the layers with your hands. Rub each layer with your fingers while holding the leek under running water to dislodge any grit. After cleaning the leeks, slice them thinly and set aside.

Heat the stock in another saucepan and, when it is simmering, use it to blanch the asparagus for exactly 2 minutes. remove the asparagus and set it aside. Keep the stock simmering.

At the same time, heat the butter and oil in a large wide saucepan or pot. Add the leek and cook until it's soft, stirring often. Mix in the rice and stir until it is well coated with oil and butter.

Toast the rice until it begins to turn translucent, then pour a ladleful of the vegetable stock into the rice and keep stirring until the stock is absorbed. Then add another ladleful and stir again. Continue doing this until the rice is al dente. You may not need all of the vegetable stock.

Stir the lemon zest and rosemary into the risotto and in a small bowl beat the egg yolk, lemon juice, grated cheese, cream and pepper. When the risotto is ready (when the rice is no longer chalky, but still has some bite) take it off the heat and add the asparagus and the bowl of eggy, lemony mixture. Salt to taste and serve with more grated cheese on top. Garnish with lemon zest if you wish.

Our asparagus came from Monica Bongue at Muddy Fork Farm. Monica was born in Cali, Colombia, came to the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from U.C., Davis and now runs a farm in Wooster, Ohio. Her asparagus is wonderful and she sells at the Shaker Square Farmers' Market.

Labels: , , ,

Links to this post

Strawberry Jam



When working with fresh produce, a less-is-more approach usually produces better results than trying to follow a complicated recipe. And what could be simpler than making jam with berries, sugar, and lemon juice?

[I have to put in a warning here. This was my first time making jam, and having 16 pounds of strawberries to use up, I decided it would be better to make all the jam at once. It didn't hit me until my jam was merrily boiling away at the half-hour mark that the smaller surface-area-to-volume ratio of my giant batch would make my jam much, much runnier than it should have been. Luckily, my jam came out okay (a little on the runny side), but making larger batches than a recipe recommends is a big no-no when it comes to jam making.]

Strawberry Jam

3 lb. ripe strawberries (4 1/2 pints), rinsed and hulled
3 cups sugar (you can use a little less if the fruit is very ripe)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Special equipment: eight or nine 8-oz canning jars with lids

To wash the berries, gently scoop them into a sink filled with water. Swish them around a little, and let them sit for a while. The dirt should fall to the bottom of the sink.



Hull and quarter the berries. Put them in a deep pot made of non-reactive material (stainless steel works well). Make sure that there is enough room in your pot! If there is less than 5" between your berries and the top of your pot, you might have a rather anxious time of it. When the jam boils, lots of air bubbles are trapped in the dense liquid, which will begin to rise very quickly.

Pour on the sugar and lemon juice, and mix well with a wooden spoon. Cover the pot and let the berries macerate for about two hours. If you like your jam smoother, you can mash them with a potato masher instead.



While the berries macerate, wash your jars and set them in the oven. They should be in there for at least half an hour. Wash the lids and rings, and set the rings aside. Put the lids in a pot of boiling water to sterilize them, and to make the rubber around the edges a little more pliable.

Bring the pot of strawberries to a full boil (you need to boil off the liquid to achieve a jammy consistency). Make sure to stir often (with your wooden spoon) and skim off any foam from the surface. The foam will make your jam cloudy if it's left in the pot, although you can eat it separately (a la Marcel from Top Chef). After half an hour of boiling, your jam should be just about ready. Don't boil the jam for more than 40 minutes, however, otherwise the pectin in the fruit will break down and the jam will turn dark.

You can test the consistency of the jam by chilling a plate in your freezer. Spoon a little bit of jam onto the plate, and check the thickness of the jam once it has cooled. I've found that the jam tends to thicken up a little more than this test might indicate once you've sealed and refrigerated the jars though, so don't think it's the end of the world if your jam is a little runny.

Take a jar out of the oven and ladle the jam in until within 1/4" of the rim. Wipe any jam off the rim with a damp towel, and use tongs to take a lid out of your pot of boiling water and put it on the jar. Quickly screw a ring over the lid (it has to be tight enough to hold the lid onto the jar). Repeat this process until you fill up all of your jars.

Put the jars into a deep pot filled with boiling water; make sure the water reaches above the rim of the jar lids. Cover, and let the jars boil for ten minutes. Remove the jars with tongs and let them cool on the counter. The lids should begin to pop within minutes. If you have any lids that didn't seal (the lid makes popping sounds when you press down on the middle), throw them out or eat immediately.



This jam will keep in a cool, dark place for one to two years. If you haven't already eaten it by then. We can go through a jar of this stuff in a day!

Inspired by this recipe from Gourmet, 1999.

Labels: , , , ,

Links to this post

Grilled Pork or Portabella with Strawberry Fennel Salsa



The fennel and strawberries go ridiculously well together and taste good on top of almost anything savory. We like to serve it on grilled pork but it also works well with grilled portabellas and, however it is served, the salsa looks good on a plate.

Grilled Pork or Portabella with Strawberry and Fennel Salsa Recipe

Makes 4 servings

1 lb fennel (sometimes called anise), stalks cut off and discarded
1 1/2 cups diced strawberries
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
salt to taste

4 (3/4 to 1-inch-thick) pork chops or 4 large portabella mushroom caps
5 tablespoons vegetable oil

Salsa:
Halve fennel bulb lengthwise and core it, then cut into 1/4-inch dice. Toss the fennel in a bowl with strawberries, scallions, cilantro, vinegar, honey, and salt.

Grilling Chops:
Prepare grill for cooking. If using a charcoal grill, open vents on bottom of grill, then light charcoal. Charcoal fire is medium-hot when you can hold your hand 5 inches above grill rack for 3 to 4 seconds. If using a gas grill, preheat burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, then reduce heat to moderate.

Pat pork chops dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. Grill pork chops on lightly oiled grill rack, covered only if using a gas grill, turning over once, until cooked through. Transfer chops to a plate and serve topped with the salsa. Garnish with parsley

Grilling Portabellas:
Still prepare grill with medium-high heat. Brush oil evenly over both sides of mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill mushrooms until they're tender, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Place mushrooms, gill side up, on plates and spoon salsa into mushrooms. Garnish with parsley.

This is the summer version of a favorite pomegranate recipe. We substituted fresh strawberries from one of our favorite local farmers. (Not only does Woolf Farms sell delicious strawberries, they also wear lots of Ohio State apparel! They're mentioned in this post about the Shaker Square Farmers' Market.)

The fennel we used came from Salash Farm, which also sells produce at the Shaker Square Farmers' Market.

Labels: , , , ,

Links to this post

Dutch Baby Pancakes



Pancakes have never been a food I like to eat; they're always a little too dry and there's always too much of them. I've tried everything to make them tastier -- dousing them in jam, syrup, even hot salsa -- but I'd always rather have a big platter of bacon, done up crispy-style.

However, that all changed when I saw this post on orangette. Jimmy's dutch baby pancakes looked buttery, light, and airy... and I had to have them. The batter is made in the blender, creating little air bubbles that expand when the pancake is baked. You can make this in two small cast-iron pans, or one large one. A glass pyrex dish would also do (I used four small ramekins).



Pancakes:
4 tbs unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup 2% milk

Topping:
1/2 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar (balsamic would also work)
powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the dish on a baking sheet, and into the oven to heat up. After it has risen to temperature, divide the butter evenly between the dishes and slide back into the oven.

Put the eggs, flour, and milk in a blender and give them a quick spin. After the butter has melted in the dishes, remove from the oven and distribute the batter evenly in each dish. Pop them back into the oven for 25 minutes.

Mix the strawberries with the granulated sugar and vinegar in a bowl. After the pancakes are ready, quickly take them out of the oven, dust with a generous amount of powdered sugar, and spoon the strawberries over the pancakes.

These are best eaten piping hot, so serve immediately.

Serves 2.

Labels: , , ,

Links to this post

Pesto with the Besto

Basil Pesto



Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

4 cups packed fresh basil leaves . washed well
1/2 cup pine nuts . toated until golden . cooled and chopped fine
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces)
2 large garlic cloves . minced
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Have ready a bowl of ice and cold water. In a saucepan of boiling salted water blanch basil, a handful at a time, 2 seconds, transferring with a slotted spoon to bowl of ic water to stop cooking. Drain basil in a sieve and pat dry.

In a food processor puree basil with remaining ingredients until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Pesto may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, its surface covered with plastic wrap.

Labels: ,

Links to this post

Corn Radish Salad

Corn Radish Salad with Jalapenos and Lime



Makes 6 servings.

4 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 4 ears)
3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons olive oil2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chilies

Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Bon Appetit

Labels: , ,

Links to this post