Archive for March, 2011

From Dish Danielle:

It’s a tough time of year to plan a dinner party menu. I’m yearning for the bright bounty of Spring– and although March 20 has already passed, my beloved season full of twitterpation isn’t really here… just yet. I sat down to brainstorm on this Saturday’s W&L supper, hoping to compose a menu that trumpeted Springs arrival, but quickly realized that we’d have to strike a delicate balance between dwindling winter and not-quite-but-almost-here spring. I mean, it was close to freezing all weekend for heaven’s sake. So, what‘s a dish to do about the dessert course? Beet Gelato, that’s what.

And, if we’re gonna go for it, we might as well take our cues from the powers that be. Thomas Keller’s recipe is practically flawless.

2 lbs red beets, peeled & quartered

1c water
2 c heavy cream

2 c milk

¾ c sugar

8 egg yolks

Keller recommends running the beets through a juicer. For a home cook like me who doesn’t have one, here’s how to start:

Preheat your oven to 350. Hit beets with olive oil, wrap fist size bundles of ‘em in foil, and stick in oven. Only par-roast, until just starting to soften (20-25min). Drain olive oily drippings and throw beets into food processor or blender with the water. Once pulverized, drain pulp of ALL liquid by setting a fine mesh strainer over bowl and pressing with wooden spoon.

Use yer elbow grease and get as much beautiful bright beet liquid out as possible! Place juice in small saucepan and reduce over low heat, skimming as necessary, to about 1/4 c. Strain concentrated beet juice and place in fridge for later.

In medium pot, combine beet pulp with cream and milk. Bring to a simmer, cover, and remove from heat for about 30 min, allowing the beets to super duper infuse.

Strain pulp from the milk/cream and measure out 3 c (TK says to discard any extra, but I saved mine for a smaller batch of the gelato I’d make the following day). Return liquid to pot, add half the sugar, and bring back to a simmer, stirring slowly.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks with remaining sugar. Gradually whisk about 1/3 of hot liquid into yolks to temper. Return mixture to saucepan and low heat, stirring, until the custard has thickened and coats the back of a spoon (5-10min).

Pour custard through a strainer (I know—one last strain! This will catch any cooked eggy bits…) and into a bowl set in an ice-water bath. Stir to cool.

Cover and refrigerate for few hours until completely cold, or overnight for the creamiest texture. ( I recommend overnight.)

If you happen to have an immersion blender, it’s worth buzzing the custard just before running it though your ice cream machine. This will maximize the gelato’s creaminess (so says my pastry chef roommate & guest dish, Jessie, and she’s absolutely right). Add the reduced beet juice to the custard and run through an ice cream machine.

Store in freezer for at least 2 hours before enjoying beet heaven.

I served mine atop a Gruyere and Pine Nut Tart. I think my favorite part about this dessert was that my lipstick matched my gelato. Ain’t nothin’ like a sexy kinda-still-winter-not-yet-spring-dessert.

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From Dish Erin:

I play around with enchilada recipes a lot, testing out new sauces, spices, peppers, fillings–and the various combinations of them all. Though I’ve had some great successes, my tried and true favorite is chicken with a spicy enchilada sauce, as opposed to spicy chicken with a mild sauce.

So when my Texan friend came over with a big ‘ol bowl of homemade tomatillo salsa, I knew immediately I’d be trying it out in an enchilada iteration. Most enchilada recipes involve a red sauce, so I loved changing things up with a fresh, spicy green sauce. These enchiladas are a bit more Tex-Mex inspired, rather than the traditional Mexican style. What can I say, you can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the girl.

Make the salsa first (Recipe straight from Sugarland, courtesy of my girl Kristen Vetter):

1 pound fresh tomatillos
1 large Spanish onion (about 12 ounces), cut into large chunks (about 3 cups)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 packed cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 jalapeno (seeds and all if you like heat)
1/2 lime, juiced
Kosher or fine sea salt

Pull the husks from the tomatillos and wash them under cool water until they no longer feel sticky. Roast them in the broiler until just charred. Cut them into quarters and put them into the work bowl of a food processor or blender. Add the onion and garlic and process until smooth. Add the cilantro, jalapeno and lime juice and process until the jalapeno is finely chopped. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then set aside.

Now make the enchiladas:

Canola or vegetable oil
1 large or 2 small chicken breasts (I like to marinate mine in garlic, lime, cilantro and olive oil for a few hours or overnight but it’s not crucial)
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thinly into half-moons
1 large bell pepper, sliced thin (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 green pepper)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt & pepper
Corn tortillas
Cheese of your choice–cheddar or cotija is perfect

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a saute pan or dutch oven, heat a little bit of the oil over medium-high heat and sear the chicken breast until golden brown on both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Turn down the heat in the pan to medium-low and toss in the onions, peppers, garlic and spices.

Then ‘pull’ the chicken to shred it apart. Sometimes I like to shred the chicken into big chunks and sometimes I like to almost mince it for a mushier texture. Your prerogative. (FYI, it doesn’t matter if the chicken is totally cooked through at this point, you’re gonna put it back in the pan.)

By now the onions, garlic, and peppers should be softened. Put the chicken back in the pan, stir, and put the lid on. (If the pan is dry at this point, toss in a little more oil or a dash of chicken stock.)

Heat a skillet or griddle (cast iron works great for this) with a little bit of canola oil on medium to high heat. When the pan is hot, heat the corn tortillas on both sides. This should be really quick, less than a minute on each side. The tortillas will turn a golden brown color. Set aside.

Get out that lovely green salsa you made and coat the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch pan with a ladle of enchilada sauce.

In large shallow bowl, put another ladle of salsa and dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce to lightly coat both sides. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture in each tortilla and roll up into enchiladas, then place into the baking dish with seam side down–you can use toothpicks to hold if they keep busting open. It happens.

Top the whole pan with a few more spoonfuls of salsa and shredded cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven until cheese melts. Garnish with cilantro, sour cream and chopped tomatoes before serving.

Serve with a bit of guacamole, black beans and if you’re so inspired, “Manhattan corn”, my husband’s name for grilled corn on the cob smothered in butter, lime zest, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.

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Welcome Guest Dish Corey! She comes to us by way of Dish Jodi, who says:

LA and NY are covered, so today we have a guest post from the middle of the country. Saucy Dish Corey is from Chicagoland, and is an uber-mom to her little Teacups Dylan and Devyn. She keeps track of the meals she makes on her own blog – Family Fresh Meals – and today shares one of the insanely adorable Bento Boxes that Dylan and Devyn get to devour for lunch. Seriously guys, these boxes are so adorable, go check out more of them on her site.

Why I do what I do:
Jamie Oliver launched a show in 2010 called Food Revolution. Although my family usually ate healthy most days, I realized how much processed food we were eating out of convenience. After watching the show, I started looking at labels, and was horrified by how many “mystery” ingredients were in our convenient foods. The one that shocked me the most was our instant pancake mix…. the kind you add water to and shake. There were literally 30 ingredients. I couldn’t even pronounce 20 of them! Aren’t pancakes made from flour, eggs, baking powder and milk? Needless to say, the Food Revolution started a movement in my home to try some new Family Fresh meals every week. I call my meals “family fresh” because 90% of the meals are approved by my 2 children. We also try to make these meals together, to teach the whole family the importance of fresh cooking. I started my blog to share my love of cooking with fresh, fun ingredients, in hopes that others will try some family fresh meal cooking too. 🙂

What you will need:
– hard boiled egg
– black sesame seeds (just 2 for the eyes)
– broccoli slaw (make it from scratch or try Trader Joe’s bagged version)
– fruit leather
– apple
– orange
– colorful fruit snacks (I love Annie’s Homegrown bunnies)
– cookies (used Trader Joe Joe Joe’s for this bento)

1. I find it easiest to prep all your food before laying it into the bento box. Start by peeling the hard boiled egg. Carefully cut a zig-zag cap off of the top of the egg, leaving the yoke intact. Set your egg aside.

2. Next, lay out your fruit leather. I used a small flower shaped cookie cutter to cut the flowers. Any shape cutter you have will be fun. If you do not have any cutters, just cut out triangles or squares. The idea is to add color and sweetness to your bento.

3. Now lets make your fruit look pretty! Cut your apple in to slices. Remove any core. Then, with a knife, cut angles off the top of your apple. This will give it a tulip appearance.

4. Next, peel your orange and make angle cuts. This will make cute little orange triangles

5. Now its time to make the bento. First lay a bed of broccoli slaw in your main bento compartment. Place your hard boiled egg chick in the middle and add the sesame seed eyes and a piece of carrot from your broccoli slaw mix for the nose. Sprinkle your fruit leather cut-outs around the chick. Lastly, lay out your fruit, cookies and fruit snacks in your secondary compartments.


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