Saturday, September 30, 2006

Crusty Puffed Potatoes

4 small red potatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt

Preheat oven to 475°F. Rinse potatoes and dry well with paper towels. Rub potatoes with oil. Cut each potato in half and sprinkle cut sides with salt. Put potatoes on a baking rack and let stand 10 minutes so salt can draw some water out of potatoes. Bake potatoes on the baking rack (not on a baking sheet) on middle rack of oven until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Increase temperature to 500°F. and bake potatoes until puffed and golden, about 5 minutes more.
Romaine and Gorgonzola Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing and Spice Pecans

6 tablespoons olive oil
10 large garlic cloves, unpeeled

2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons apple cider
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

8 cups bite-size pieces romaine lettuce (1 large head) 1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss oil with garlic in small baking dish. Cover dish tightly with foil. Bake until garlic is golden and tender, about 45 minutes. Cool. Squeeze garlic from skins. Reserve oil.

Transfer roasted garlic to processor. Add honey, vinegar, cider and mustard and blend well. With processor running, slowly add reserved garlic oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss lettuce with 1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese and enough dressing to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and Spiced Pecans and serve.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Beef in Barolo

1 boneless chuck-eye roast ~3.5 lbs
4 oz pancetta
1 medium onion
2 carrots
2 celery ribs
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs crushed garlic
.5 tsp sugar
1 tbs flour
1 bottle of wine, preferably Barolo or Cabernet
1 can diced tomatoes
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
10 sprigs parsley

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pat beef dry and season with salt and pepper. Cook pancetta in heavy bottomed Dutch oven, cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon transfer pancetta to paper towels and reserve. Heat remaining fat until just smoking, add beef to pot and cook until well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Set aside on a large plate.

Reduce heat to medium; add onions, carrots, celery and tomato paste to pot and cook stirring occasionally until veggies begin to soften and brown, about 6 minute. Add garlic, sugar, flour and reserved pancetta; cook stirring constantly, until combined and fragrant. Add wine and tomatoes, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits; add thyme, rosemary, and parsley. Return roast and any juices to pot; increase heat to high and bring liquid to boil. Place large sheet of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid. Set pot in oven and cook, turning every 45 minutes, until dinner fork easily slips in and out of meat, about 4 hrs.

Transfer meat to plate and tent with foil. Bring liquid to boil over high heat and cook whisking vigorously to help veggies to break down until mixture is thickened and reduced to about 3.5 cups, about 20 minutes. Strain sauce through strainer and discard solids. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with sauce immediately.

Key Lime Bars

5 oz animal crackers
3 tbs packed brown sugar
pinch of salt
4 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 oz cream cheese, room temp
1 tbs grated lime zest
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg yolk
.5 cup Key lime or regular lime juice

Garnish (optional)
¾ cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted

Preheat oven to 325. Line and 8 inch baking pan with tin foil, spray it with cooking spray.

In a food processor, pulse animal crackers until broken down, about ten 1 second pulses. Add brown sugar and salt, process to combine. Drizzle melted butter over crumbs and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened with butter. Press crumbs into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake until deep golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Cool on wire rack with making filling.

Stir cream cheese, zest and salt with rubber spatula until softened, creamy and combined. Add condensed milk and whisk vigorously until no lumps of cream cheese remain; whisk in egg yolk. Add lime juice and whisk gently until incorporated.

Pour filling into crust and spread to make even. Bake until set and edges begin to pull away slightly from edges, 15-20 minutes. Cover with foil and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Chicken Enchiladas

Sauce and Filling
1.5 tbs veggie oil
1 medium onion
3 cloves of garlic crushed
3 tbs chili powder
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
.5 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
2 cans tomato sauce (16 oz)
.5 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 can (4 oz) pickled jalapenos, drained
8 oz sharp cheddar

Tortillas and toppings
10 6” corn tortillas
veggie or cooking spray
3 oz grated cheddar
¾ cup sour cream
1 avocado
2 limes, quartered

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering, not smoking, about 2 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Ad Garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, salt, and sugar; cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and cook stirring constantly, until coated with spices, about 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce and ¾ cup of water; stir to separate chicken pieces. Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and flavors have melded, about 8 minutes. Pour mixture through medium-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on chicken and onions to extract as much sauce as possible; set sauce aside. Transfer chicken mixture to large plate, freeze for 10 minutes to cool, then combine with cilantro, jalapenos, and cheese in medium bow. And set aside.

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Fill Tortillas with chicken mixture, roll and cover with sauce. Cover baking dish with foil. Bake enchiladas until heated through and cheese is melted, 20-25 minutes. Uncover and serve immediately, with accoutrements.

Spinach and Cheese Strata

1 (10-oz) package frozen spinach, thawed
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups cubed (1 inch) French or Italian bread (1/2 lb)
6 oz coarsely grated Gruyère (2 cups)
2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then finely chop.

Cook onion in butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in spinach, then remove from heat.

Spread one third of bread cubes in a buttered 3-quart gratin dish or other shallow ceramic baking dish and top evenly with one third of spinach mixture. Sprinkle with one third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice (ending with cheeses).

Whisk together milk, eggs, mustard, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata. Chill strata, covered with plastic wrap, at least 8 hours (for bread to absorb custard).

Preheat oven to 350°F. Let strata stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.