Archive for February, 2011

From Dish Gwen:

I’m 38 weeks pregnant, and with motherhood right around the corner it’s time that I finally learned how to make biscuits like my own mom does. Growing up I never realized how lucky I was to have a mom who made biscuits from scratch, and I plan to spoil my own kid just as badly as my mom spoiled me.

These biscuits aren’t fancy but they’re damn good, and they can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert depending on how you treat them. Pair them with bacon and eggs, with gravy and a nice roast chicken, or topped like shortcake with sweet strawberries and fresh whipped cream. You can’t go wrong, and your kids will be forever in your debt. Eat your heart out, Pillsbury.

Biscuits from Scratch

– 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (plus 1/2 cup for rolling the dough)
– 3 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp salt
– 8 tsp butter (this is where I stray from mom – she uses some Crisco but I won’t touch the stuff)
– ¾ to 1 cup milk

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients then chop in the butter using a pastry cutter. Don’t let the butter get melty – it should be cold and as you mix it into the dough it should clump into small pea-sized bits. Once all of the butter is coated with flour and broken down into small bits, chop in the milk using the pastry cutter. The dough should be sticky but not liquid, so add the milk slowly and use only as much as you need to form a loose ball.

Sprinkle about 1/3 cup of flour on a dish towel and lay the dough ball on it. Sprinkle additional flour on top of the ball so that there is no sticky dough exposed. Without touching the dough with your hands, use the towel to knead the dough, pressing the ball flat then folding it over on top of itself repeatedly. Press and fold the dough about 15 times, then press it out flat so that the dough is about ¾ of an inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter or a sharp-edged cup dipped in flour to cut the dough into rounds, and lay the rounds onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Re-knead the dough as necessary to cut it all into rounds.

Bake the biscuits for about 20 minutes until they start to brown on top. Makes 6-7 biscuits.

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From Dish Erin:

Some people go to church on Sundays. Me, I make tomato sauce. This weekend I had some extra time that allowed me to not only make sauce but homemade pizza, too. I really wanted to make homemade dough, but apparently this Presidents Day, there was a run on yeast at my local supermarket! So you’re getting a 75% homemade pizza recipe, but a 100% delicious one, I promise. The saucy lil husband and I own a pizza stone, which to me is just a constant excuse to eat pizza. But I don’t fight it. Making pizza at home is a totally different experience from ordering out and I’ve come to appreciate it for different reasons. The process, mostly. It’s a meal that you create layer by layer, which is really gratifying. You get into bite into a crust you rolled out, taste a sauce you slaved over all day, and a pie you assembled yourself. Tonight I opted for mushrooms and broccoli and a few sliced meatballs (for my meatball recipe, click here) as toppings. If you use broccoli, I suggest blanching it first.

For the sauce
1 yellow onion, diced
1 medium sized carrot, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 cans crushed tomatoes
Splash of wine (optional)
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon honey

For the pizza
1 lb of dough (I used whole wheat)
Tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella, or 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced
Toppings of your choice
Basil, cut into a chiffonade

1.) Time to make the sauce! Heat olive oil over medium heat and add onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Saute until veggies are translucent and soft. Add oregano, thyme, and the tomato paste. Stir to incorporate paste and when it’s ‘melted’ into the veggies, add a splash of wine. Doesn’t matter what kind.

2.) Add bay leaf, both cans of crushed tomatoes, a few shakes of crushed red pepper, salt & pepper. Stir and turn the heat down to low. Add honey. You can use sugar if you don’t have honey on hand, but just use a little less than 1 tbsp. Stir again, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour.

3.) Time to make the pizza! Preheat oven to 450 degrees and put the pizza stone in the oven while it’s preheating. (If you don’t have a pizza stone, don’t worry, just use a baking sheet.) The key to making pizza is a smokin hot oven, and a smokin hot pan.

4.) Roll out your dough. Assuming your supermarket didn’t run out of yeast, it’s not hard to make your own dough, just time consuming. But in a pinch, you can always buy fresh dough. Put down parchment paper and dust it with cornmeal. This will keep it from sticking much better than flour, and the cornmeal actually departs less flavor onto the dough. You can use flour, but be careful because it can start to make the dough dried out. Take a rolling pin and start in the middle of the dough, slowly rolling out all sides equally so you don’t get an oblong or weird shape, but a nice round circle. This will take a few minutes. Pizza dough requires a little elbow grease and effort to get it to fully smooth out. Don’t be discouraged if it keeps ‘pulling back’ into a ball, just keep working at it.

5.) Remove the pan from the oven and place the dough on top. If you want a really thin crust pizza, and the dough’s not cooperating with you, you can poke a few holes in the crust with a fork, because the dough will rise in the oven.

6.) Spoon a few ladles of tomato sauce onto your pizza dough, then add the cheese, then your toppings. Brush the edges of the pie with a pastry brush dipped in olive oil.

7.) Bake on the bottom oven rack for about 15-20 minutes. The pizza should be crisp on the bottom, golden brown on top and bubbling in the middle. Remove from tray to a plate or a pizza paddle (hey, I’m from Jersey, I’ve got my pizza making tools, ya heard?) and let cool for about 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

The sauce you can have, but the pizza, she’s-a mine!

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From Dish Nicole:

I just recently celebrated my 29th birthday, otherwise known as the last year of my 20’s. I decided that 29 sounds like a mature and sophisticated age. 29 sounds like the age you throw yourself a birthday brunch at your apartment and cook for all of your friends rather than get sloshed at a bar. So that is exactly what I did. It was a blast. Per the usual, I over-bought and over-cooked and had loads of leftover ingredients in the fridge. Once I took inventory I decided that buttermilk biscuits and chicken a la king would be my next SLD. Buttermilk biscuits are super easy to make and you probably have everything you need to make them (minus the buttermilk) without even realizing it. They are always delicious and always impress.

What you need for the biscuits:
2 cups flour
¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoon unsalted butter (cold)
1 cup (approx) buttermilk

You can make the biscuits before starting the chicken or wait until it’s simmering on the stove. I always hold off so that the biscuits are fresh out of the oven when it’s time to eat. While getting all of the ingredients together, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combined all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl or food processor and then add the chilled butter in chunks. You want the mixture to resemble a course meal. I recommend using a food processor for this. Return the mixture to a bowl and add the buttermilk, adding more if the consistency is too dry. You can pat the dough out on a floured surface and use a cookie cutter to get perfect round biscuits but I don’t mind the free form shape so I scoop about a ¼ cup of the dough out and drop onto a cookie sheet. I also added shredded cheddar to the top to make them extra tasty.

Bake these puppies for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and that’s all there is to it.

Next up, the chicken:

3 cups diced cooked chicken (I chose to poach chicken breasts but you can also use leftovers from a roast chicken)
3 tablespoons butter
4 small shallots
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk, ½ and ½ or evaporated milk
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
½ cup peas
3 cloves garlic diced
½ cup chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper

In a large deep skillet or saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Next add in the shallots and garlic and cook until softened. Add in the celery and carrots and cook for an additional 5 minutes. At this point you can blend in the flour, coating the veggies. Gradually add in the milk, broth, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Add in the chicken, peas and fresh dill and simmer for about 10 more minutes or until it thickens to your liking. Serve it up in a bowl with those delicious biscuits and you have yourself one comforting meal. Please note: Friends, roommates and boyfriends really enjoy this meal and will ask you to make it for them again and again.

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Chicken and Mushrooms

From Dish Jodi:

It’s Valentine’s Day eve, and it’s been a doozy of a weekend. A close friend since day 1 in LA is being sent back to Canada for “maybe forever” because of Visa issues so a bittersweet Bon Voyage party was thrown, the hubby’s amazing grandmother isn’t doing to well so a sudden trip home for him is in the works, and my job’s been frustrating. The sunshine today was healing but once the sun went down, some comfort food was needed to finish the job. I was craving something earthy, something warm. Something like chicken marsala….something that is like a hug on a plate.

I don’t really love the flavor of marsala wine, so I just used a bright pinot grigio and some fresh thyme instead. Cozy, creamy and comforting. Perfect on a day when it’s important to remember all types of love – the love of friends, no matter what city they are in – the love of family, gathering to help each other get through tough times – and the love of a husband, who no matter the troubles of daily life, is always the greatest supporter, friend and dining companion.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!


2 skin-on chicken breasts – I used boneless
olive oil
3 Tbsp butter – divided
1/2 Cup finely minced onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 cups of various wild mushrooms, coarsely chopped (I used crimini, oyster and some cute little beech mushrooms)
1 tsp all-purpose flour
White Wine – A couple glugs
1 Tbsp fresh Thyme
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 squeeze fresh lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Salt and Pepper the chicken breasts. Heat a bloop of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter in a large saute pan. Brown both sides of the chicken breasts til crispy, about 4 minutes on each side.

Move breasts to a sheet pan and put in oven, skin side up for about 15 more minutes or until cooked through to your liking.

Toss onions and garlic in chicken saute pan and cook til softened. The add the chopped mushrooms and cook til browned and tender.

Remove veggie mixture from the pan and deglaze with the glugs of wine, remaining butter, herbs, ginger and flour. Whisk and stir to remove clumps and let the sauce bubble and thicken.

Put the mushrooms back in, stir to coat and reheat. Right before serving, turn off heat, and stir in a squeeze of lemon.

Pour the mushroom mixture over the chicken to serve and enjoy…hopefully with someone you love.

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Acorn Squash for Two

From Dish Rachelle:

If I’m being honest, this post begins six months ago. With kimchi.

Sometime over the summer, I decided I wanted to make it. I scanned some recipes, bought a napa cabbage and for some reason that feels murky to me now, I decided I could wing it. I chopped the cabbage, pushed it into a mason jar, and doused it with salt, garlic and sriracha. I shoved it in the pantry, and three days later I spooked and threw the whole thing in the garbage, convinced I was going to poison myself.

Cut to last week. The Boy and I have some friends over for dinner and they bring a copy of the Momofuku cookbook which, much to my delight, includes David Chang’s kimchi recipe. Pumped to try again, I head to the grocery store the next morning and buy the ingredients that I can track down at the local Key Foods – which is to say, not all of them. I convince myself – again – that I can improvise. (Why? Why do I think I can do this? A Jewish-Italian-Slovak Jersey girl making traditional Korean food shouldn’t go off the map. I can only say that I must have a problem with authority, which is why I cook but I really don’t bake.)

Puffed up on hubris, I started documenting my kimchi exploits for you fine folks at SLD. But, as you may have anticipated, my Jewish-Italian-Slovak kimchi didn’t turn out very good. It’s edible, but certainly not worth sharing the recipe until I get it right (i.e. follow David Chang to the letter). So you’re getting a very simple, homey recipe instead: a side from the Boy’s wheelhouse which, since he first taught it to me, has become one of our cold weather staples because I want to eat it all the time.

1 Acorn squash
6 tsps. unsalted butter
2 tblsps. brown sugar

Preheat over to 350.

Cut off the stem of your acorn squash in a quick, shallow slice. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, and enjoy the happy accident that somehow, the bits of skin that peeled off around the stem came out heart-shaped. This is Valentine’s Day squash! This post is seasonally relevant!

Clean the squash by removing the seeds and stringy parts, carving out a hole in the center with a spoon.

Season both sides with S&P. Put a big ol’ pat of butter in each one, and cover it with tablespoon of brown sugar (that’s 1 tblsp. per side). Place butter side up in a baking dish and cook for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.

It’s ready when the butter’s melted, a knife slides easily into the flesh, and the top looks golden brown.

Sometimes cooking experiments and challenges go wrong – luckily, tried and true home recipes taste pretty awesome, too.

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From Dish Paige!:

There’s not much I can say to introduce this sandwich other than I made it because I thought it might be dude-ly enough for the Super Bowl. It’s got some fried stuff, some spicy stuff, and it’s messy. That sounds about right, doesn’t it? Obviously, you don’t have to wait until next year to make it if you want, I’m sure it’ll go well with other events like…lunch.

For the slaw:

1/4 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/4 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot (peel and the keep peeling to make ribbons)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of sauce from a can of Chipotle in Adobo
1 small lime, juiced
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cumin
salt & pepper

Directions: Mix the mayo, chipotle, lime, honey, cumin, salt & pepper together and pour over the veggies. Toss to coat and let sit in the fridge for at least half an hour.

For the chicken:
1 package thinly sliced chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
3 or 4 dashes Tobasco sauce
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup coarse ground corn meal
salt & pepper

Directions: Mix together the buttermilk, mustard and tobasco sauce, then set the chicken cutlets in the liquid and let them soak for a half an hour. Mix together the flour, corn meal, salt & pepper and dredge the chicken cutlets in the mixture.

Fry the chicken cutlets over medium heat in a lightly oiled pan until done (sorry I’m not great on the timing here, but I bet you can figure it out) and set aside.

For the sandwich:
1 loaf Italian bread
1/4 pound Monterrey Jack cheese, sliced
Chicken Cutlets

To assemble: Slice the bread in half, lengthwise, and remove some of the innards of the bread (there’s a lot of stuff to try and cram in to the sandwich, so you need as much room as possible). If you want, you can spread the bottom with a little bit of mayo and some of the leftover sauce from the Chipotle in Adobo. If you’re like me, you’ll get a little bit of it on the top of the bread but we’re not all perfect. Lay down the chicken cutlets, overlapping slightly so there’s as much of an even distribution as possible. On top of that, place slices of cheese in a similarly overlapping fashion. For the last layer, heap a bunch of slaw on top and then try to gently smush the sandwich closed. Put on the TV and eat.

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From Dish Gwen:

Most of the ham we’re familiar with is cured with salt or smoked or both, but this ham is fresh, meaning it’s basically a big raw piece of pork. As much as I love cured ham, fresh ham is great because you can control the flavors and ingredients – a lot of the ham you’ll find out there is treated with preservatives and artificial flavors that aren’t so desirable.

If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, you can cure a fresh ham yourself by packing it in salt and drying it out on a rack in your fridge for a few days. If you’re like me and you rarely think about what you’re going to make for dinner until two hours before your guests are expected to arrive, you can prepare and roast a fresh ham in 120 minutes.

– 3-4 lb fresh ham
– 3 tablespoons sea salt
– 5 cloves garlic, diced
– 2 tablespoons fresh sage, diced

Set your oven to 450 degrees. Score the top of your ham in a crisscross pattern, slicing the meat about ½ inch deep and set it in a baking pan. Dry off the ham by dabbing with a paper towel, then rub the sage, salt and garlic evenly over all sides of the ham, sweeping up any extra that falls into the pan and packing it onto the meat with your hands.

Roast the ham for 1.5 to 2 hours, until the top is crusty and browned but not burnt. While the meat cooks, make some sides – I made mac-n-cheese and steamed kale, but there are all sorts of sides that would go well with this (salad, rice, polenta – get creative!).

Pull out the ham and let it rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes. Then slice and serve, making sure that everyone gets some of the crust, which should be savory and salty. Enjoy!

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