Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pea and Mint Soup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1 cup chopped yellow onion
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
5 cups freshly shelled peas or 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen peas
2/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup freshly chopped chives
Garlic croutons, for serving

Heat the butter in a large saucepan, add the leeks and onion, and cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the onion is tender. Add the chicken stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the peas and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the peas are tender. (Frozen peas will take only 3 minutes.) Off the heat, add the mint, salt, and pepper.

*Puree the soup in batches: place 1 cup of soup in a blender, place the lid on top, and puree on low speed. With the blender still running, open the vent hole in the lid and slowly add more soup until the blender is three-quarters full. Pour the soup into a large bowl and repeat until all the soup is pureed. Whisk in the creme fraiche and chives and taste for seasoning. Serve hot or cold.

I cut in half.

Ina Garten

Friday, March 20, 2009

Barefoot Chicken with 40 Cloves

3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.

Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, saute the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don't want to pierce the skin with a fork. If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium. When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to saute all the chicken in batches. Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.

Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful because chicken tends to be bland. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.

**I cut the amount of chicken in half and kept the sauce as directed for 2 people. Rex likes sauce

Friday, March 13, 2009

Nutella Thins

1 cup plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
6 tbsp Nutella
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats (not instant or regular)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, Nutella and the sugars until mixture is fluffy. Beat in the egg and the egg yolk, followed by the vanilla extract.
Working at a low speed or by hand, gradually blend in the flour mixture and the oats (if you don’t have quick-cooking, pulse whole rolled oats in the food processor to chop them up a bit).
Drop teaspoonfuls of the batter (1/2-inch balls) onto prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 2-inches between cookies to allow for spread.
Bake for 10 minutes, until cookies are set.
Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 6-7 dozen cookies

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Panang Curry

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons finely grated peeled ginger
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot chili paste,such as sambal oelek (I used 1/2 a diced jalepeno)
1 cup water
1 13 1/2-to 14-ounce can organic light coconut milk
3 kaffir lime leaves or 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
1 tablespoon (firmly packed) golden brown sugar
2 14-ounce packages organic firm tofu, drained, cut into 1-inch cubes 1 1/2 cups (diced cooked chicken would work nicely)
1/4- to 1/3-inch-thick slices peeled carrots (about 3 medium)
1 yellow, orange, or green bell pepper cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, ginger, and garlic; cook until shallots are tender, about 6 minutes. Add peanut butter, turmeric, cumin, and chili paste(jalapeno); stir until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup water, then coconut milk, lime leaves, and brown sugar; bring to simmer. Season sauce with salt. Add tofu, carrots, and bell pepper; simmer over medium heat until carrots are tender, adjusting heat to medium-low if beginning to boil and occasionally stirring gently, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cool slightly, cover, and chill. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Amaretto Cheesecake

8-10 Digestive cookies
3 Tbs melted butter

24 oz cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
5 tsp cornstarch
3 eggs
1 yolk
1/4 cup whipping cream (single or double work, not extra thick)
1/2 cup amaretto
2 tsp almond extract

Combine crushed biscuits and butter in springform pan, press crumb mixture to form base of cake.

Combine cream cheese, sugar, and cornstarch. Beat till smooth. Add eggs and egg yolk one at a time until incorporated, stir in whipping cream, amaretto, and almond extract. Pour cream cheese mixture over crust

Bake at 400 (oven setting 6) for 10 minutes, reduce temperature to 200 (1) and bake for an additional 1 hr 15 minutes or until the center no longer looks wet or shiny (this took at least 1 hr 45 min for me). Run knife around edge to cake to prevent cracking and leave cake in the turned off oven for 30 more minutes. Chill, uncovered, overnight.