As promised for [ profile] earthfiregirl:

12-16 oz elbow pasta (we used the ones from Bionaturae).
4 Tbs flour
4 Tbs butter
2 cups milk
16 oz cheese (2:1 Monterrey Jack:Cheddar but use whatever you like) grated

Preheat oven to 400^F
In large pot of boiling water cook pasta until super al-dente, drain set aside pasta

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. When the bubbles start to subside, whisk in the flour and cook until golden brown and there is a distinct nutty aroma. Whisk in milk and cook until thickened. (This is a good time to add additional seasonings such as white pepper, Tobasco sauce, cayenne pepper, dijon mustard etc etc etc). Once the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat and slowly mix in the grated cheese, reserving some for topping the final dish. Mis together the sauce and the pasta and pour into an oven-safe casserole. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake until the top is brown and crisp. Remove from oven and allow to set for 5-10 minutes and serve.


Nov. 21st, 2006 12:52 pm
Preheat oven to 350^F

1 cup graham cracker crumbs (appx 12 crackers)
2 tbsp butter melted

Mix above and place on bottom of greased spring-form pan. Flatten crumbs and refrigerate.

2 lbs cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar plus a dash more

Cream the above until light and fluffy


5 1/3 ounces (by volume) (aka just shy of 2/3 of a cup) shortening
5 eggs

mix very well


2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

and again mix very well

Pour batter into the spring-form pan and gently tap pan on counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 90 minutes.
(Time may vary depending on how cold the ingredients were and your oven, so start checking after an hour or so). Cheesecake will be golden brown on top and barely set in the center when done. The edges may turn ever so slightly black. This is OK. Allow to cool to room temperature and refrigerate overnight before removing from the pan.

Note: a piece of unflavored, unwaxed dental floss is perfect for slicing cheesecake cleanly.
4 slices bacon
1 ox-tail cut into pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
5-8 gloves garlic, crushed and peeled
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 bottle full-bodies red wine
2 cups water
1/2 cup saba

An hour before starting to cook, remove the ox-tails from the fridge. In a heavy bottomed 6-8 qt pot, cook the bacon over medium-high heat. Take out the bacon and eat it, leaving the grease in the pot. Raise the heat to high. Salt and pepper the ox-tail pieces and then sear them in small batches until brown on all sides. Remove the pieces from the pot and put aside to rest. Saute the onion, garlic, and celery until they begin to soften, add the meat including any juices back to pot along with the bottle of wine and water. Bring to a boil, then cover pot and lower heat and simmer for 4-5 hours or until the meat is very tender.

Once the meat is tender, remove from the pot and set aside. Strain the liquid to remove the now very soggy vegetables. Return liquid to the pot and bring to a boil. Add in the saba, and reduce until the sauce has become thick and syrupy.

While the sauce is cooking, remove the bones from the meat and prepare broad cut egg noodles. Toss the meat and sauce with the noodles and serve with something green and crunchy on the side like green beans or broccoli.
Fall is here in force and it seemed like time to dig out some of the older cookbooks and make some comfort food. So tonight, I made Pork Apple Pie from the Old Sturbridge Village Cookbook. It's not complicated, and it's not like you really need a recipe per se. Make up a savory pie crust and fill it with sliced pork and apples (in roughly a ration of 1:2) that you have tossed with some sugar, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg and bake at 400^F for an hour.

For the mashed potatoes, I found this purple fingerlings that stayed impressively purple even after boiling. I just smashed them up with some milk and butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Left over broccoli and some of my father's home made rye bread and Fromager Des Clarines, rounded off the meal.
Yesterday, I made tarte tatin with some truly yummy apples I had laying around. I used the recipe I found over at Chocolate & Zucchini with one key modification. That is instead of using a non-stick saucepan and then a cake pan, I just used a well seasoned cast iron pan to make both the caramel and the tarte itself. I'd post a picture, but the tarte tatin is almost all gone now and I didn't think to take a picture last night...
In the last 48 hours I have made:

1 roast chicken
strawberry crisp
grilled chicken and cheese sandwiches
cherry/nectarine crisp
ducken broth (I had a freezer full of both duck and chicken bones)
36 wacky cupcakes
1 Hershey's Chocolatetown Special Cake (though with both different cocoa frosting)
6 turkey/ricotta burgers
countless crepes
5 left-over crepes rolled up with left-over chicken and mornay sauce "enchiladas"
3/4 cup oil
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
6 oz apricot nectar
enough flour

Yes, that's right, enough flour. I honestly don't know how much since I've never bothered to find out. Anyways, when it feels like dough, it's ready. Knead it till it feels silken and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes before rolling out. This dough is also fantastic for eastern european style apple pie.
Over a decade ago, [ profile] moominmolly gave me a recipe for soft pretzels which we made one weekend afternoon. I then proceeded to stick the recipe in the special recipe folder and promptly forgot about it. Until Saturday that is. Here you go folks, and thanks again to [ profile] moominmolly.

3 dozen 6-inch Sticks or Twelve 6-inch Pretzels A chewy soft pretzel: the kind that still -- praise be! -- can occasionally be bought from a street-vendor.

Combine in a mixer bowl:

I CUP 105-115(degree) WATER

When dissolved, add and beat at least 3 minutes:


When dissolved, add and beat at least 3 minutes:

Stir in:

and knead until the dough loses its stickiness.

Let rise in a covered greased bowl until doubled in bulk.

Punch down and divide into 12 pieces for pretzels or 36 smaller pieces for sticks. With your palms, roll the 12 pretzel pieces into 18-inch lengths, about pencil thickness, tapering the ends slightly. Loop into a pretzel shape. Place on a greased baking sheet and let rise until almost doubled in bulk.

Preheat oven to 475 (F).

Have ready a boiling solution of:

Do not use an aluminum pan for this mixture.

With a slotted spoon, carefully lower the pretzels into the water about 1 minute or until they float to the top. Return them to the greased sheet.

Sprinkle with: COARSE SALT

Bake until crispy and browned, about 12 minutes for the pretzels, less for the sticks. They are best served at once, but will keep about one week in an airtight container.
2lbs asparagus
4 Tbs Butter (or Olive Oil)
2 stalks celery chopped (appx 1 cup)
1 large onion chooped (appx 2 cups)
10 peppercorns
2 sprigs thyme
Kosher salt
2 large shallots chopped (appx 1/2 cup)
4 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 pound of waxy potatoes chopped
6 cups water, vegetable broth or chicken broth

Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus. Melt 2 Tbs of butter over medium heat in a suace pan. Add asparagus ends, the onion, and one stalks worth of celery and cook uncovered until vegetables are soft (appx 25-30 minutes). Add the liquid, peppercorns, thyme and 2 large pinches of salt. Bring to a boil then simmer for at leat 30 minutes.

While the above is simmering, cut the tips of the asparagus off and blanch them quickly in boiling water until bright green, then immedidiately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

In another sauce pan, melt remaining butter and cook the shallots with a heavy pinch of salt until softened then add the garlic and cook for an additional minute or two. Add the remaining asparagus stems and the potatoes and then strain in the broth made from the touch ends. Cool until the potatoes and asparagus are tender. This should take 20-30 minutes. Turn off heat and allow the soup to cool for 5-10 minutes.

In small batches puree the soup in a blender or food processor then strain through a sieve or run soup through a food mill. Reheat the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve hot with the blanched asparagus tips floating in the middle.
As promised the the comments section of my recent adventure in cooking from the French Laundry Cookbook", I made Short Ribs Agrodolce from "Cooking by Hand" by Paul Bertolli. I have to confess to having made several recipes from this inspiring cookbook and though I've been impressed everytime I've been to Bertolli's restaurant Oliveto, I had yet to find a recipe that was really to my taste. Until now that is. These are without a doubt the best braised short ribs I have ever eaten. I'm feeling too lazy right now to type in the recipe, but I assure you, it's wonderful. Maybe next time I'll even remember to buy the celery.
This is similar to a previous pork chop recipe that I posted ages ago, so I'm going to do the short and sweet version here:

All you need are some brined pork chops and some jam or smashed up fruit. In my case I used apricots we'd jarred last summer. Anyways, heat a heavy skillet over high heat with just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Place the chops in the pan and reduce heat to medium-high. Flip the chops over after 4-6 minutes or when golden brown. Pour a generous amount of the crushed fruit on top of the chops. It's okay if some spills off into the pan proper. Let cook for 4-5 minutes and then flip over again being sure to coat the pork in now caramalized fruit. Cook for one more minute and serve immediately.
I was going to post about going to The French Laundry recently, but [ profile] aroraborealis's post is far more coherent than I could ever imagine to write myself. The short version is that it was one of the best meals of my entire life.

Yesterday, inspired by the recent visit to Yountville, I dug out my copy of the French Laundry Cookbook and attempted to prepare one of the recipes: Rib Steak with Bordelaise Sauce, Pommes Anna, and Chanterelles. The first thing I learned is that there is a very good reason that most French restaurants have a host of comis and sous chefs. I lost track of how many shallots I chopped about halfway through the afternoon. Once, I included added the asparagus soup to the menu, I'd used approximately half a pound of butter for a meal that was intended for three adults and one child.

I had a load of fun, despite the fact that I completely forgot to prep the chanterelles in the middle of doing everything else. I learned that knife skills aren't as good as I thought, and that I really really love my mandolin. Additionally, I relearned how easy it is to clarify butter. Next week skate or veal with polenta I think. Or maybe I'll go for the gougiers.

[Edit: When making the pommes anna, it's important to not soak the potatoes for more than a minute or two in the cold water. If you do, then the slices curl up and make it signifigantly harder to make them lay flat.]
Earlier today, [ profile] kcatalyst bravely cleaned out the refrigerator, after which we had a pile of food which needs eating soonish. We put it to you, brave souls that you are to provide us with an interesting recipe or three for using the following ingredients in a creative yet tasty fashion for our dining enjoyment:

Plain yogurt - 2 cups
Ricotta cheese - 2 lbs
Chicken broth - 1 cup
Applesauce - tons
Cooked beans - 3 cups
Corn tortillas - 2
Goat cheese - just a bit
Creme fraiche - 1 cup
Roasted lamb - 1 cup, cubed
Salsa - 1 cup
English bacon - 2 slices

Note: All volumes are approximate. Recipes need not be limited to the above ingredients. Bonus points for only adding typical pantry items.


Dec. 31st, 2005 07:33 am
Okay so I should have posted this like 6 days ago.

8 cloves of garlic
4 russet potatoes
2 eggs
1 medium onion
salt and pepper to taste

Peel the garlic, potatoes, and onion. Quarter the potatoes and onion. Toss all in a blender along with the eggs and run until smooth. You probably want to add the potatoes and onion in batches so as to not kill your blender. Pour mixture into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. If the batter is too runny add some flour to thicken it to the desired consistency.

Heat up enough oil in a large skillet or saute pan to cover the bottom appx 1/4" deep. Spoon or ladle the batter into the pan in whatever size latkes you like. Once brown, flip and cook on the other side. Drain latkes on paper town covered plate and serve hot with applesauce, sour cream or freshly made cranberry sauce.
1/2 lb of string beans with ends cut off
1/4-1/2 cup water
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
olive oil

Heat saute pan over medium heat with enough olive oil to just barely cover the bottom of the pan. Toss beans into pan and add in the water. Cover and allow beans to cook 3-4 minutes until bright green but still crisp. Remove lid, pour in lemon juice and soy sauce and continually stir/toss beans until all the water has cooked off from pan and beans are well coated with the resulting glaze.
Toss 3/4lb freshly cooked warm pasta with garlic infused olive oil and let cool to room temperature.

Mix in:
1/2 to 1 cup fresh peas
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 avocado cubed
1/2 cup crumbled greek feta

Serve immediately.

[Edit: thanks Anonymous :P]
Okay, so this isn't exactly a recipe, but whatever:

Toss together:

sliced/peeled cucumbers
finely chopped fresh mint
black pepper
garlic powder

I meant to toss in a little lemon juice, fresh lemon zest and a bit of olive oil, but I forgot. Regardless it was still yummy.
Alton's Mighty Duck just rocks. Just don't believe the part about using the retained heat to cook the chard. Or if you do believe it, be sure to use less butch variety of chard.
salmon fillets
soy sauce
maple syrup

Place fillets in large zip top back or non-reactive baking dish. Make up enough marinade (1 part soy sauce to 3 parts maple syrup) to cover all your salmon fillets. Marinate for 12-24 hours.

Preheat oven to 500^F. Remove salmon from the marinade and place skin side down in glass baking dish or on baking sheet. Bake on top rack for 5-8 minutes depending on thickness of fillets. Serve immediately.
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