Archive for March, 2012

From Dish Erin:

I have a thing against raisins. I once started a war on my Facebook page when I stated as much and I was backed, passionately, by follow raisin haters and conversely, mocked and called all sorts of bad things, including a socialist. Or maybe that was my post about Obama not being a Muslim? I digress. I realized then that the raisin is a very polarizing dried fruit.

The raisin does have a less anger-inducing cousin, the craisin, or dried cranberries. I find the craisin to be mildly tolerable in oatmeal, otherwise unappealing and roughly in the same category as those evil wrinkly little buggers, raisins. So you can imagine my chagrin when my husband accidentally came home with an industrial size bag of craisins instead of the fresh cranberries I’d requested. I’ve been staring at this bag in my pantry for months when it dawned on me that if it didn’t hate them in oatmeal, maybe I could make an oatmeal cookie, fill it with lots of chocolate, and they might actually be enjoyable.

And wow. They were way more than enjoyable. I didn’t even pick out the craisins. In fact, they were so awesome that my coworkers ate the entire tupperware container of them for breakfast and requested that I make more the next day.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1/2 orange
3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a electric hand mixer). Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats, cranberries, coconut, and white chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 1 – 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Serve with milk, duh.

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From Dish Nicole:

I have never claimed to be much of a baker, but I certainly do try. I also realize that some of the best recipes in the world have taken several attempts to perfect. My recent baking endeavor has proven to be a true labor of love as it took me several attempts to get everything to work together in perfect harmony. I was determined to prove to myself that not only could I make a cake that tastes amazing, but I wanted it to be equally as beautiful because it was for my dear friend, Dish Danielle’s, 30th birthday. I was given some valuable advice along the way from some very experienced cake makers which I will now share with you.

Ingredients for Aunt Em’s Vanilla cake:

1-3/4 cups plain cake flour, sifted
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 16 pieces

To start, adjust your oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9” round cake pans and cover the bottoms with parchment paper or waxed paper. Grease the parchment rounds and dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess. Once you have prepared all of that you should beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla with a fork in a small bowl; measure out 1 cup of this mixture and set aside. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Beat the mixture at the lowest speed to blend, about 30 seconds.

With the mixer still running at the lowest speed, add the butter, one piece at a time; mix until the butter and flour begin to clump together and look like small pebbles the size of peas, 30 to 40 seconds after all the butter is added. Add the reserved 1 cup egg mixture and mix at the lowest speed until incorporated, 5 to 10 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the remaining egg mixture (about 1/2 cup) in a slow, steady stream, taking about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat at medium-high speed until thoroughly combined.

Next up you will need to divide the batter equally between the prepared cake pans, spreading all the way to the sides of the pans and smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake until the cake tops are light gold and a toothpick or thin skewer inserted in the centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes (added an additional 5 minutes).

Set the cake pans aside to cool and on to the lemon filling.

The lemon filling is probably the easiest part of the cake but once you set it on the stove you have to watch it like a hawk. It heats up quickly and burns easily. I learned this the hard way. The lemon filling recipe can also be found in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook in the filling and frosting section.

Lemon filling ingredients:
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup lemon juice
Grated rind of two lemons
1 egg
1 tablespoons butter

Mix all the ingredients together in a heavy-bottomed pan.

Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth. Cool before spreading between layers.

Now we are ready to make what I found the most challenging part of the cake, the frosting. I took a stab at making a 7 minute frosting that was recommended but I found that it came out to granular so I ended up making an adapted version that was given to me by my boyfriend’s mother. Here is what you will need:

Vanilla Frosting:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 teaspoons cold water
1 teaspoon corn syrup

Having patience is key, so start by mixing sugar, cream of tartar, salt, egg whites, water and corn syrup in a double boiler over simmering water (I used a sauce pan over another sauce pan). Beat steadily over low heat with electric beater until the frosting stands in peaks, about 5-7 minutes, no more. Remove from heat and continue to beat until cool and thick enough to spread. Add the vanilla before spreading.

I have to say, the cake was amazing and Danielle loved it. I already have a request for another friend’s birthday. Mission accomplished.

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From Dish Rachelle:

I have a problem: I’m kind of obsessed with ramen but I hate waiting in line for my food, which seems to be par for the course at NYC’s most popular ramen spots: Momofuku Noodle Bar, and Ippudo. I’m pretty sure Ipuddo’s bowl is my number-one-favorite, but I’m not entirely convinced, since the only time I braved the requisite hour-and-a-half wait I ended up drinking two lychee martinis before my meal on an empty stomach, which inevitably dulled my palette (and generally made me eat like a monster-face). Momofuku is amazing too, and it’s almost worth battling the crowds for the one-two punch of the steamed pork buns and a hot bowl of noodles (oh, the steamed pork buns!). But here’s the real rub: there are countless second-tier ramen bars around the city but they pale in comparison to these two heavy-hitters. Does anyone have a favorite diamond-in-the-rough spot? Help an addict out – or, just swing by my kitchen.

OK, we all know that the best part of ramen is the noodles, but unfortunately I haven’t learned the fine art of making them from scratch. No matter: the very close runner-up – the second-best part – is the STUFF, like roast pork, eggs, Asian veggies, and sriracha. This is a meal the Boy and I concocted and it’s basically an Asian-inspired soup with ramen-style stuff. What a mouthful.

Feel free to substitute your own favorite stuff, like beef, chicken or fish instead of pork, or baby corn instead of bamboo shoots, or broccoli instead of asparagus…

Here’s what we did (serves two):

Cook one cup of brown rice according to package directions. This is more than enough for two bowls of soup so plan to make some fried rice in the near future. When the rice is cooked, season with salt, sesame seeds and about a tsp. of rice wine vinegar.

Bring 3 cups of chicken stock to a boil and add ½ cup of dry bonito flakes and a stick of kambu.

Take the stock off heat and let the ingredients soak for 15 minutes or more. After they’ve soaked, the broth should look cloudy. Drain out the bonito and kombu and discard. Season the broth with soy sauce.

Preheat oven to 400. Mix up a teriyaki sauce and marinate your meat – we used a ¾ lb pork loin that yielded some fat slices for both of us plus some leftover (which I used in the fried rice, mmm). After marinating, cook pork loin for about 45 minutes, until firm, glazing periodically with the teriyaki sauce. When it’s cooked, let it rest about 10 minutes before slicing.

Steam any green vegetables (we used asparagus, cause we had it in the house) and be ready with other garnishes: bean sprouts, canned bamboo shoots and sliced scallion, in this case.

Just before serving, soft-to-medium boil two eggs and slice them in half.

Pour broth over a small pile of rice and arrange all of your ingredients in the bowl.
Decorate with sriracha, scallions and a strip of dried seaweed.

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From Dish Paige:

Sometimes, the simplest things are the best. Take my mom’s egg salad, for example. It’s just hard boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and maybe a dash of salt, but scoop it onto an everything bagel and I guarantee you’ll feel close to heaven. When I make egg salad, I gussy it up a little bit, but always with the understanding that it doesn’t need too much to make it spectacular.

Ingredients (for 2 sandwiches)
4 slices crusty bread, toasted
1 small tomato, sliced
4 lettuce leaves
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 hard boiled eggs
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

Directions: There are lots of ways to hard boil an egg, and in my experience, people can be very attached to a certain way of doing it, but I’ll tell you how I do it. Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with enough water so that it covers the eggs by about an inch and add a capful of vinegar (so the eggs peel easier). Bring the water to a boil and continue boiling for one minute. Cover the saucepan, remove from the heat and let sit for 8 minutes. Run cold water over the eggs and peel.

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, thyme, and lemon juice. Add in the hard boiled eggs and mash with the back of a fork. Salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble the sandwich with a layer of the salad, red onion, tomato and lettuce.

Serve with your favorite potato chip. Try not to float away.

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From Dish Amelia:

Dish Danielle and I just returned from a beautiful trip to Oaxaca, Mexico (the most southern state). This was no all-inclusive-lie-on-beach trip; we were in the capital Oaxaca City, and ventured out a couple times on day trips to rural village markets. As you can imagine we spent most of the time eating or considering our next meal. Oaxaca is famous for many special things: chiles, mezcal (a spirit made from agave), toasted grasshoppers (protein-rich crunchy-salty-leggy), chocolate (mostly for drinking), squeaky fresh and stringy cheese, unchanged ancient corn drinks, seven kinds of mole (a deep and complex sauce made of many, many ingredients), and nieves (“snow” in spanish, ice milks). We saw nieves stalls at the markets, and on the streets, and all of them have each flavor packed in a canister set in a barrel of salted ice, and the vendor must periodically spin the canisters to keep them icy.

Some of the nieves are sorbets, made with fruit and water, and some are made with milk, but none of them are made with cream and eggs, so they are light and icy in a good way. I remembered there was a church in the center (there are lots of churches) where there was a courtyard I went to with my dad to get nieves. Eventually, we found the church, and then the courtyard, but due to construction there were no vendors. Darn…man, its pretty hot. Oh, wait, there they are! They moved! Tucked along the outside wall facing the street, the stalls looked temporary with many tarps shielding them from traffic and sun, but also cozy, (cast iron tables, glassware and tv). All the stalls sell nieves, so you have to pick one based on how many people are in line (the more the better) or flavors they have, or in our case a totally arbitrary one. (But a winner!!) I tasted leche quemada (burned milk, hoping for it to be something akin to burnt caramel, but this was not so.) And then nuez (nuts, or pecan) and it was so wonderful I ordered that right away.

Danielle got nuez and cajeta (goat milk caramel, a slightly funky yummy flavor). I hadn’t realized I could get two flavors in my cup at once (duh) and the vendor offered to switch one out but I went tunnel vision at this point and all I could see and and taste and feel at this point was sweet, hydrating, pecan-city nieves de nuez. Later I wished I had tasted elote (corn) mamey (a seasonal fruit), the zapotes (more fruits), and beso oaxaqueno (oaxacan kiss..I have no idea what this could mean), but of course I didn’t regret my decision.

My frozen treat loving companion was adamant that we do. This. Every. Day. But there was so much to see we didn’t make it back. Danielle and I walked a bunch of blocks up Tinoco Y Palacios in the shade in a state of extreme bliss I will never forget.

Lucky for you and me I was able to recreate the product pretty dead on. Excepting for the fact that I used an ice cream maker, and for a slight difference in milk/terroir/exhaust fumes etc..

1/2 cup toasted pecans
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp sweet rice flour or cornstarch
pinch of kosher salt

Yields 1 quart.

Toast the pecans in a dry cast iron, let them cool, then rough chop. Be sure to gather up any fine pecan dust as well as the larger pieces. Put all ingredients in a sauce pot and heat gently for about 15-20 minutes. Dont let the milk boil and stir often so the starch thickens the mixture slightly, and it doesn’t get too hot. You want the sugar to dissolve and the pecans to impart their flavor to the milk.

Pour the mixture into a stainless bowl and set it in a ice bath, and stir until chilled enough to put in the fridge. After about an hour, run through an ice cream maker, store in a quart container, and fluff with a fork.

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From Dish Danielle:

I’ve just returned from my very first trip to Mexico. I had the perfect guide, Dish Amelia, who’s been across the border before and knows Oaxaca City like the back of her hand. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that we did an excellent job eating our way through the OAX. SLD style….

The trip provided each sense with its own degree of intoxication: The brightly colored buildings and the incredible flora of southern Mexico; the hypnotizing sounds of bustling markets; vendors waving flags and enticing you with their sing-song-y pitches; the dizzying aromas wafting out of kitchen windows; Mexican chocolates, fresh tortillas, grilled meats over massive barbecues; the textures of traditional woven garments…
All of the flavors of Oaxaca are woven into their food and drink: bright yet earthy, hearty but not heavy. Dreaming of mezcal to mouth watering mole, I’m already dying to go back.

With that being said, I’ve had a killer hankering for a particular breakfast that Amelia & I ordered nearly every morning (and kicked ourselves when we didn’t…), Huevos Divorciados, behold:

For salsas:
1 lb plum tomatoes, rinsed
1 lb tomatillos, husks discarded & rinsed
3 small jalapenos
1 poblano, roasted, skinned and deseeded
1/2 a large white onion
4-5 garlic cloves
Handful fresh cilantro, rinsed
Water as needed.

For 8 tortillas:
1c masa harina (I actually picked up ‘instant’ which meant I didn’t need to wait for the dough to ‘set.’)
2/3 c water, plus a little more if needed

For desayuno:
2 eggs per person being served.

Start by roasting the tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapenos and onion on a comal or dry cast iron skillet until blackened on all sides, (15mins or so). Core roasted tomatoes. De-stem/de-seed jalapenos.

Make red salsa: Puree tomatoes, 1½ jalapeños, 2 garlic cloves, ½ the onion, and salt in food processor, (add water to thin salsa if desired). Set aside.

Make green salsa: Purée tomatillos, 1½ jalapeños, poblano, 2 garlic cloves, rest of onion, salt, cilantro, and 1/2 cup water in food processor, (add a bit more water if desired).

Make tortillas: Combine masa harina and water in medium bowl. Mix with hands until a soft malleable dough forms that keeps its shape. Add tiny amounts of masa/water as needed if too wet/dry. Form into 8 small balls. Keep dough covered with damp towel. Use tortilla press to flatten into perfect discs! Fire up your comal/dry cast iron to cook these bad boys. Gently place tortilla on hot surface. Cook for about 1min on each side—you’ll see it firming up and your nose will tell you when it’s time to pull one off!

Once your tortillas are finished place them snuggly in a tea towel to keep warm. Now fry your eggs to your own liking and lay 1 fried egg atop 1 tortilla, and serve 2 of these per plate.

Spoon liberal amounts of green salsa on one egg and red salsa on the other. I complimented the eggs with my own rendition of a black bean puree we had on the side of this breakfast in Oaxaca, (I simply stewed the beans with a few cloves of garlic, a hunk of onion and some freshly ground Oaxacan allspice that I picked up down there). Feel free to make any accompaniment to your Saucy Little Dish, and enjoy.


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From Dish Gwen:

I recently found myself in possession of a large quantity of tempeh, forcing me to get creative in the kitchen. What’s tempeh? Good question! I had never cooked with it until a couple of days ago. It turns out to be fermented soy beans that are stuck together like a firm cake, and it has a nice meaty texture and nutty taste that many people enjoy as a meat substitute. In this recipe you basically treat it like ground beef, and the result is a hearty meaty dish with no meat in it at all.

– 2 cups tempeh, crumbled
– 1 cup chopped mushroom
– ½ cup diced onion
– ½ cup shredded carrot
– ½ cup shredded turnip
– 1 cup kale, minced
– 2 eggs
– 1 cup breadcrumbs
– ½ tablespoon salt
– ½ tablespoon black pepper
– ¼ cup ketchup

Preheat your oven to 350.

Mix everything together in a bowl using your hands, and make sure that it is well combined and that the egg is distributed throughout. The mixture should have a sticky doughy feel, and if it’s too loose and dry you can drizzle some warm water in there until it gets sticky (so you can form it into a ball without it crumbling apart readily).

Press the mixture into a bread pan so that it forms a firm loaf. Water down the ketchup with a few tablespoons of water, then brush it on top of the loaf so that the entire surface is evenly glazed. Bake for 1 hour, then slice up and serve with mashed potatoes. Save the leftovers for meatloaf sandwiches with mayonnaise!

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