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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From Dish Nicole:

If I were a good Irish girl I would have been thinking corned beef and cabbage this week, knowing this was going to be posted on St. Patty’s Day, but alas I am not. As of late, I have been having a hankering for spicy food. Maybe it’s because I am ready for warm weather or maybe it’s because Calexico opened a restaurant down the street and it seems to have a wait no matter what time you go. Whatever the reason, I took matters into my own kitchen and decided to add a little heat. I did some research on tinga before I got started, and by research I mean Googling. I couldn’t find much. I did find that tinga can be made with shredded beef or chicken or even sometimes pork. It’s a popular treat during Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Mexico. The most popular way to serve tinga is tostada style in a crunchy shell. Well, I am a few months early and I am serving it up in corn tortillas. However you choose to serve it it’s fantastic, just a bit messy to make and eat.

Tinga Ingredients:
3 pounds chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion
6 plum tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 chicken bouillon cube
7 oz can chipotle chili peppers canned in adobo
1 tablespoon chipotle powder
1 tablespoon cumin
Handful of chopped cilantro (optional but I highly recommend)

To get started you will want to poach the chicken. You start by boiling salted water and placing the chicken in for about 10 minutes or until it’s cooked. Drain and let cool before working with it. While the chicken is cooking you can slice and dice the onion, tomato and garlic. Sautee the onion and vegetable oil over medium heat in a saucepan until soft. Next, puree the tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, salt, cumin, chicken stock and the chipotle peppers in a food processor for approximately 1 minute and transfer to the pot with the onion. Next, add the chicken in small batches to the food processor. You will want to pulse it until the chicken looks shredded (do not puree) and then transfer the chicken into the saucepan with the rest of the mixture. Over medium heat simmer until most of the water is evaporated and you have a beautiful and fragrant chicken tinga, this could take up to 15-20 minutes. While the tinga simmers, occasionally taste and add more chipotle powder to get to your desired level of spiciness. Add the cilantro toward the end for added flavor.

Taco ingredients:
approximately 12 corn tortillas (layer 2 per taco)
crumbled cojita cheese (I couldn’t find this in my grocery store so I used ricotta salata instead)
1 lime, cut into wedges for serving
1 handful of diced cilantro
Sour cream to serve

The corn tortillas can be done many ways but I choose to cook them over my burner for a few minutes on each side until they start to brown and become pliable. Once they’re cooked you are ready to serve! What I enjoyed most about making this recipe was how delicious the house smelled. The recipe made enough to serve 3 of my friends and myself with plenty leftover. Tinga is great on eggs, rice, beans…the options are endless. Happy St. Patty’s day everyone!

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From Dish Rachelle:

These past few days I’ve been cleaning out my fridge – deliciously. Do you ever buy greens for a meal, thinking you’ll eat them all week, and then suddenly five days fly by and they’ve gone just a little south of fresh? I had this arugula…

…and it was still good, but had wilted just a little too much to be ideal for salads. Which is the perfect moment to make pesto! The arugula is still peppery, but the texture matters less when you’re going to grind it into a paste. I had parmesan cheese in the fridge, garlic in the basket, almonds in the pantry; I could salvage the greens without even leaving the house!

4-5 cups packed arugula leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
sliced parmesan, about a quarter cup’s worth
1/4 cup sliced almonds
roughly 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
roughly 1 tsp. salt

Pour greens and garlic into a food processor – whir a few times to lightly combine and make a little extra room. Add almonds, cheese and about half of your olive oil, and pulse until well-combined. Add salt, pepper, and keep pulsing, adding olive oil until desired consistency is reached. At room temperature, it should have the texture of a thick, blended soup.

In the spirit of use-it-or-lose-it, that day I made this sandwich for lunch: shaved carrots, pesto, and 2 medium-boiled eggs (cover two eggs in cold water with a dash of vinegar and bring to a boil; once water is boiling, cook for another 3 1/2 minutes for yolks that are gold and still a little bit loose). I stuffed it all in the lonely pita pocket that has been languishing on the shelf for a week or so.

A few nights later, I spotted the leftover organic filo the Boy had brought home to make fancy snacks for Dish Erin’s husband’s 30th birthday party. I’ve never worked with the stuff, but I figured why not wrap a piece of fish in it, and season it with my arugula pesto?

1 boneless salmon filet, skin removed, about 3/4 of a pound
6 sheets of store-bought filo dough (they’re delicate, so have a few extra on hand)
4-6 tablespoons of butter, melted
1-2 tablespoons of pesto

Preheat over to 375.

Melt butter and spread it over a sheet of filo dough with a pastry brush. Layer another sheet on top of it. Curse like a sailor when you stick your thumbnail through a sheet in the process. Remember that they don’t have to be perfectly aligned because the ends are coming off anyway. Repeat process – coating each layer in butter – until you’ve piled 6 sheets on top of each other. In the center, spread a healthy amount of pesto, and then place the skinless salmon filet on top of it. Roll the dough over the fish so that it looks like a burrito. Cut the excess at the ends with a sharp knife and press the folds together with some more butter, using the tines of a fork to create a “seal” (it really won’t stick together, but you just want the edges closed). Bake on a silpat- (or aluminum-foil-) covered baking sheet at 375 for 20 minutes, until the top of the filo is golden.

The edges get frayed and pretty.

Feel pleased that your food rescue mission turned out so glamorous.

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From Dish Paige!:

I have complicated feelings about March. First off, it’s my Birthday Month, and as such it is always filled with magic and happiness and love from all my friends and family. On the other hand, the whole “in like a lion, out like a lamb thing” usually just translates to “it’s still winter, deal with it.” Hopefully, this will be my last cranky weather-related post for a while, though. Yesterday, it was cold. It was rainy. And I needed me some egg noodles….

2 lbs beef cubes
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 can whole, peeled plum tomatoes
1 carton beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 dash nutmeg
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
egg noodles


Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy bottom pot and brown the beef cubes on both sides. Add in the onion and pepper and saute until the onion becomes translucent. Add in the tomatoes (crushing with a spoon once they’re in the pot because it’ll get really messy if you do it with your hands, I know because I did it with my hands and got tomato juice all over me), the liquid from the can, the carton of beef broth and the bay, caraway, paprika, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper (to taste). Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and watch part of a movie or some TV under a blanket because it’s rainy and you want to be cozy for about an hour and a half. After the stew has simmered, get the egg noodles going (according to package directions). With a slotted spoon, remove the meat and veggies from the liquid and reserve in a bowl. Melt the butter in a separate pan and whisk in the flour, whisking for about a minute or two. Add in the liquid from the stew and whisk until it turns into a nice, thick gravy. Pour the gravy over the meat & veggies and then pour all of that over some buttered egg noodles. YUM!

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From Dish Amelia:

I had a dream that I was in California. Time moved differently, and I went outside and there was a farmers market. Citrus and avocados and birds of paradise were in cheap plentiful piles, and light glinted from colorful surfaces and geometric buildings and sculptural plants. I couldn’t wake up from the dream, so I made breakfast in it.

1.5 lbs tiny mixed potatoes, halved
1-2 sprigs blossoming rosemary, rough chopped
2 bunches tender baby dinosaur (tuscan) kale, rinsed
1 red onion, chopped fine
zest and juice from 1 Meyer lemon
1 shake red pepper flakes

Wash and halve and parboil potatoes. Drain well, till nearly dry. In a wok or large pan, saute onions in oil and add some of the rosemary. Toss, and add potatoes. Cut up blood oranges to serve or squeeze for juice. Leave the potatoes alone for a while on high heat, and add more rosemary, kale, pepper flakes, juice and zest. Season and flip around a bit, till potatoes have crusted edges and kale is wilted. Slip back further into dream.

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