Sunday, May 21, 2017

Y-Nots!

Editor's Note: these are very delicious.

The historical account:

The recipe for what you see illustrated comes from the 1897 edition of Brighina Young's "Minnissippi Pioneer Cooking". The recipe is Brighina's own. She dubbed them "Rye-naughts", being that they were fundamentally a twisted, spiced rye roll. Originally they were, in fact, twisted strands of dough reminiscent of the slingshots built by her younger brothers Boogham and Ian Pratt (known affectionately as Iggy Pratt.) The rolls were a favorite for spring graduation parties and eaten with cheese and lemonade. At some point, however, the language drifted, and the rolls became known as "Y-nots?", and today are made with a Y-shaped cookie cutter. Having been adopted by the local university as a culinary tradition. Minnissippi alumni of BYU often are found at the famous 750 North bakery sampling a childhood favorite. The shift in the name is quite remarkable seeing that originally the "naught" stood for the "zeroth iteration" on the recipe. Brighina was widely known for her constant iteration of favorite dishes, such as "Caverat Head Cheese", but in this case, she was satisfied with the first try. The name evolved, and only later too, the shape, as pioneer ways diminished. So while the block letter Y-nots? have become a staple, the recipe for the original Rye-naughts remain. 
Y-Nots are famous also for their soft-pretzel like use of genuine Salt Lake salt. The use of coarse salt on soft-pretzel came from having a German baker pass through Utah and be exposed to Rye-naughts, which became the basis for soft pretzels upon his return to Germany.
 There is one common misuse of the term, however. Some over zealous students have used a Y-not roll to propose marriage (or a date to the prom) by presenting the roll as if asking the question, "Y-not" marry me? And "Why-not tie the knot". Other misuses include confusion the "naught" with the "nut" part of donut or doughnut. Both of these cases should be corrected whenever possible.

1.5 c stone-ground rye flour
2.5 c bread flour
1 egg
1 T oil
2 T molasses
2 T cocoa
1 t yeast
1 t salt
1 t dried lemon peel
1 t cardamom
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t orange oil

Measurements are approximate! Make a yeast dough by standard procedure. Paint shaped dough with melted butter and sprinkle with fine and coarse sea salt. Bake for about 20 minutes. Enjoy at any temperature, with or without cream cheese. (Quite nice either way.)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Melissa Clark's Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Reb loves rhubarb!

Mom made this NYTimes recipe and Reb loved it!

The crumb is quite fatty. Perhaps it has more butter in it than it really needs.

But Reb loves butter!

2 1/2 sticks butter, at room temp, plus more to grease pans
1 1/2 lb rhubarb, rinsed and sliced into 1/2 inch cubes-- about 4 c
2 t cornstarch
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c light brown sugar
2 c cake flour
1 1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
zest of 1 lemon, grated
1 t vanilla
4 large eggs
1/3 c sour cream
2 t lemon juice

  1. Oven to 325. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Butter the paper and sides of the pan. Wrap two layers of foil under the pan, and place it on a buttered baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix rhubarb, cornstarch and 1/2 cup granulated sugar.
  3. Mix the brown sugar and 1/2 stick butter in a pan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Whip 2 sticks butter in a mixer with a paddle attachment for 2 minutes. With your fingers, blend the remaining 1 cup sugar with lemon zest until the mixture is uniform in color. Cream together with the butter at medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl halfway through. Add the vanilla and mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the sour cream, then the lemon juice. (It’s O.K. if the mixture looks curdled.) With the mixer set to low speed, add the flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, until well combined. Scrape down the mixer bowl in between the additions.
  5. Pour the brown-sugar mixture into the cake pan, then spoon in the rhubarb and its juices. Spoon in the batter so it covers all of the rhubarb. Smooth out the top.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top of the cake is firm to touch and a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out without any large, moist crumbs.
  7. Place the pan on a wire rack, and cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the cake, place a plate on top of the pan and turn it upside-down. Release the cake from the pan while still warm or else it will stick.




Friday, April 7, 2017

Reb Sauce

Here is a sauce that I like to make. You will, of course, recognize it as a romesco variant. I devised it after tasting a similar sauce at a tapas restaurant in DC a few years ago, a Basque version of romesco called salvitxada. It was served with scallops, but was also excellent with the steak, and with the charred onions, and with everything. I was able to make a sauce that matches my sense memory pretty well, although I do think it is closer to a romesco than a salvitxada. Of course I don't generally serve it on scallops or steak-- I serve it on pasta. Any pasta works, but I have a thing for angel hair pasta (which I recognize is a polarizing choice). I also like to add some browned smoked sausage.

I made it for the niblings and A. said "it wasn't fantastic like you said it would be but it was pretty good," which I count as a good review, and of course I. and C. wouldn't try it, but I think they ought to have. Baby T. loved it. It hits a lot of notes that their beloved "pasta and pesto" does. Anyway, I like it, and it's easy, and it doesn't have to dirty a lot of dishes, and I think it's pretty also.

Crusty bread: one big 1" slice or, say, 3 slices of smaller baguette, torn into largish chunks
Tomato: 1 largish or 2 smallish
Garlic: 5 cloves or so-- don't bother to peel cloves, although if you do, that's ok
1/4 c slivered almonds
1/4 c hazelnuts (skin ok) (one type of nut is ok, but I like having both)
Roasted red peppers: 2, or if they are small in the jar, enough to equal 2 red bell peppers
2 T sherry vinegar
1 T smoked paprika
salt: at least a teaspoon
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1/4 c olive oil
2-4 T butter, melted (one type of fat is ok, but I like having both)
smoked sausage, if you like

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a large baking pan with foil. On it, roast the garlic, bread, nuts, and tomato for 10 minutes or so. Remove the nuts and bread-- continue roasting the garlic and tomato for another 20 minutes or so. At this point you can roast something else on the tray too, like asparagus in oil, pepper, and salt for 12-15 minutes, or brown the sausage in little pieces. Or both. Use that pan!

Remove the tomato and garlic from the oven. When cool enough, remove tomato skin and peel garlic; roughly chop tomatoes and peppers as you add them to the bowl of a very good food processor. Add all ingredients except oil and butter (and sausage!) to the food processor. Blend until very smooth. Then put the butter and oil in the drip emulsifier thingy and let that thing run forever until it is all emulsified and beautiful. Adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper, whatever else it needs. (I usually find that it doesn't need much adjustment past fixing the salt).

Serve on pasta with sausage stirred in if you like. Serve with the rest of the crusty bread and whatever you may have also roasted on the baking pan.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Melissa Clark's Cultured Butter Cookies

A homely little cookie that I would want to hoard for myself at home.
I rolled 1/2 in demarara sugar-- kind of disappeared, lookswise and texturewise, since the cookie is already crumbly and crisp. I rolled the other half in red and green sugar, also a looks mistake. I should have gone with a single color, red OR green. Or fine toasted coconut! Or very finely chopped nuts! NOW I'm talking!

150 g AP flour (2 cups)
3 g baking powder (1/2 t)
1/4 t salt
2 sticks salted, cultured butter, at room temperature (1 c)
130 g granulated sugar (2/3 c)
1 large egg yolk
55 g demarara sugar, for rolling, or something else

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt.

Cream butter and sugar until lightened and fluffy; beat in yolk until combined. On low or by hand, add dries until incorporated.

Divide dough into two balls. Roll each ball into a 1 1/2 inch log. Sprinkle whatever coating you're using over a sheet of parchment, and roll each log in it until the outside of the dough is thoroughly covered. Cover logs tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour, or overnight.

Heat oven to 325 F. Parchment your sheets. Use a shrap knife to cut logs into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Bake until cookie edges and bottoms are dark golden brown, about 18 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Clementine Cake

I liked this recipe from NYTimes, but we had some discussion about if we liked the chocolate glaze on it or not. As you know, I LOVE chocolate orange.  But I do think the glaze, or at least the quantity of it, or the darkness of it, did overwhelm the cake. I might try again with a not-as-dark chocolate glaze, or less, a mere skim on top, maybe. Or the cake would be good just with powdered sugar, or with a syrup like you use on lemon cakes. The candied oranges Mom made for the top stole the show, though. They were PERFECT and beautiful.

5-8 clementines for 13 oz
Spray cooking oil
6 large eggs
1 c sugar
1 t salt
2 c almond flour
2 t baking powder
1 t vanilla

Place whole, unpeeled clementines in a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 2 hours, adding more water as needed. 

Remove clementines with a slotted spoon and, once cool enough to handle, halve and remove any seeds or other hard bits. Puree in a food processor or blender and set aside.

Heat oven to 350. Spray a 9 inch springform pan with cooking oil, line bottom with parchment paper, and spray paper with oil.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together with the sugar, salt, and clementine puree. Add almond flour and baking powder and stir until just combined.

Pour into prepared pan and bake until edges are golden brown and starting to pull away from sides of pan, about 1 hour. Transfer to wire rack set over baking sheet. After 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge of pan to loosed cake; remove cake from pan. Peel off parchment paper and return cake to wire rack to cool completely. 

Decorate with powdered sugar, or with chocolate glaze and/or candied clementines.

8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips
12 T butter, room temp and cut into 12 pieces
1 T corn syrup

Heat a pan of water until simmering. Place all ingredients, plus 5 T water, in a slightly smaller metal or glass mixing bowl and set over the pan. Stir gently with the spatula until nearly all the chocolate has melted, then remove bowl from heat and set aside to finish melting, stirring occasionally until perfectly smooth, about 5-10 min. The glaze is ready to pour when it is between 88-90 degrees.

Pour glaze onto center of the cake’s top and let it run down the sides. Gently tap the cooling rack up and down so the glaze coats the entire cake. Let set for at least an hour before serving.

Lamb Masala

For our Three Kings Dinner, I was trying to mimic my favorite dish at our local Bombay House, lamb boti kebab masala. I was pretty satisfied, but it wasn't quite right. But today, as leftovers, I think it really is a great re-creation! They probably make all their masalas in advance. Fine by me, if it lets the flavors blend.

For the lamb:
1 T garam masala
1 1/2 t salt
1 t cumin (toast)
1 t coriander (toast)
1/2 t pepper
3/4 lb lamb leg sirloin, in 1 inch cubes
2 c plain whole milk Greek yogurt
3 T oil
4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 T grated fresh ginger

Combine garam masala, salt, cumin, coriander, and pepper. Toss with lamb cubes, press gently to adhere. In a bowl, combine yogurt, oil, garlic and ginger. Toss lamb cubes in this, and refrigerate 30-60 minutes. Proceed with the masala sauce.

For the masala:
1/2 c ghee (or oil)
2 T garam masala
2 t salt
2 - 2 1/2 c onion, diced fine
6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 1/2 T grated fresh ginger
2 medium serrano chiles, seeded, ribbed, and minced
2 T tomato paste
1 28 oz and 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained of fluid, fluid saved
1 c coconut milk
2 c cream (or next time I want to do plain Greek yogurt)
If using cream, not yogurt: juice of 1 small lemon or 1 t tamarind paste
Chopped cilantro, to serve

Heat fat in a big pan over medium/medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add onion and salt. Cook to wilt onion, 11-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium low. Add garlic, ginger, chile, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring constantly, until onions have browned completely, approximately 7 minutes. Sprinkle with garam masala and stir to coat. Add tomatoes and, if you like, a little bit of their fluid. I added maybe 3/4 c. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they have reduced slightly and deepened in color, 15-20 minutes. After this, you can hold it on low for a while if you need to.

While sauce simmers, adjust rack to upper middle (6 inches from top) and heat broiler. Arrange the lamb cubes on a wire rack set in a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet. Broil until the exterior is lightly charred and the lamb is yummy. Flip halfway through if you're up to it.

Right before adding lamb, add cream or yogurt and coconut milk. Use an immersion blender to make it as smooth as you can. Adjust the seasoning: salt as needed, and I added more cumin. It is also at this point that I added more cream; my base recipe just had the 1 c. Sour with lemon juice or tamarind if needed. Make it yummy. You could also add pepper, more garam masala, or individual components if you think they are needed: cardamom, coriander, mustard, cloves, chile, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.

Add the lamb, heat through, and serve over basmati rice and garnished with chopped cilantro.

Epiphany Rice

I made this to go with my lamb masala. I was trying to re-invent a rice I had had at an Indian restaurant several years ago. Due to my lack of familiarity with my Mom's stove (you have to turn the heat down to 2 1/2 BUT NOT TWO) it turned out mushy, but it was yummy enough I think my invented recipe is sound. I will write it out for 1 1/2 rice, but ratios hold.

You will cook 1/3 of the rice and the other 2/3 separately, but at the same time. The smaller portion will be colored yellow, the larger will be white, but will be cooked with whole spices. You can color the yellow rice with turmeric or with saffron. If you are using saffron, the first step is to:

-- Put a pinch of saffron in a bit of water.

-- Start the ghee for the 1 c first; it will take a bit longer since you have to heat spices in oil first. When this ghee is hot, set the heat on the ghee in another skillet for the yellow rice.

-- Put in the hot ghee: 1 cinnamon stick, a cardamom pod (if you have it; we didn't), cloves (however many you think, but count them so you can remove them all-- I used 8), and be fairly generous with mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Saute these for a bit.

-- Add your 1/2 c rice to the small skillet with the ghee without spices and 1 c rice to the bigger skillet with spices. Saute the rices for a few minutes.

-- Add water and salt to the skillets. 1 3/4 c water for the smaller amount USING THE SAFFRON WATER as part of it, or adding turmeric if not using saffron; and 3 1/2 c water for the larger skillet. Add 1/2 t salt to the smaller and 1 t rice to the larger.

Cover, turn the heat down to "low" but NOT TOO LOW (2 is fine on my stove but not on my Mom's), and wait 30 minutes. Then fluff and mix the two rices together.