Friday, May 25, 2018

shoestring onions, sauteed mushrooms, wedge salads, lemonade

For Mother's Day I planned a menu of steaks and (mostly) classic steakhouse sides. I thought it turned out pretty well, if not perfectly. Brother I was right that I made everything a little too salty.

The lemonade recipe I made was too sweet (lemonade recipe, you say? Yes-- I was trying a method that uses the whole lemon, macerating the rinds with the sugar). The "keto" version of creamed spinach didn't work at all. The recipe claimed that the coconut cream would thicken when heated-- it didn't. I already knew how to saute up some nice mushrooms and cook steaks (the key to cooking steaks is being ok with the fire alarm going off).

The two new recipes that I really liked, actually, were the ones I entrusted to brother I for final preparation. That means he did a good job, and also that they were the ones I was most confident would work anyway.

Brother I brought some rolls and sister S brought a mixed berry cobbler that finished off the menu nicely.

Wedge Salads
modified from Cook's Country August/September 2012
to serve 6

6 slices bacon
1 large shallot, cut in 1/3" rings
1/4 c red wine vinegar
6 oz crumbled blue cheese (recipe says Stilton)
1/3 c mayonnaise
1/4 c sour cream
3 T milk
1 garlic clove, minced
salt, pepper
1 head iceberg lettuce,
       most of core removed but enough left to hold together; and cut into 6 wedges
12 oz cherry tomatoes, halved

Crisp bacon, drain.
Combine shallot in vinegar, let sit for at least 20 min.
Remove shallot from vinegar-- reserve both.
whisk 3 oz blue cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, 2 T reserved vinegar, garlic together in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange lettuce wedges on platter. Top with dressing, shallot, tomatoes. Each gets 1/2 oz blue cheese and 1 slice bacon, crumbled.

Shoestring onions
from Cook's Country, Aug/Sep 2011

2 qts vegetable oil
1 1/2 c AP flour
salt and pepper
3/4 t cream of tartar
1 lb onions, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rings
1/2 c apple juice
1/4 c apple cider vinegar.

Rack to middle, oven to 200.
Heat oil over medium high heat to 350.
Combine flour, 1 t salt, cream of tartar, 1/2 t pepper. Toss onions in juice and vinegar to coat in another bowl. Drain onions and transfer to flour mix, tossing to coat.
Fry half of onion rings, stirring occasionally and maintaining oil temp between 325 and 350, until golden brown and crisp-- 3-4 min. Drain on wire rack set in baking sheet in oven. Bring oil back to 350 before frying second batch. Season, if desired, with salt and pepper before serving.

Sauteed mushrooms

4 T butter
1 shallot, sliced thin
32 oz mushrooms-- cremini or white or part shiitake
  cut them as makes sense. Little mushrooms in half. Larger ones in quarters. Shiitakes in 1/2" slices
2 t minced fresh thyme
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 c white wine for cooking

Melt 2 T butter in big skillet over med heat. + shallot, cook until softened (2 min). Add mushrooms, 3/4 t salt, and increase heat to med-high. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have released their moisture. 8-10 min.

Remove lid, add 2 T butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown and tender, 8-10 min. Stir in thyme, garlic, cook ~30 seconds. Add wine to deglaze and scrape up browned bits, until liquid is nearly gone-- ~1 min. Season.

Whole lemon lemonade-- adjusted from when I made it

5 lemons
1 c sugar? -- recipe called for 1 1/4 c, but it was too sweet
1 1/4 qts water
dash of salt

Peel rinds, cut into 1/2" slices. Put in bowl, toss thoroughly with sugar. Stand 1 hr +. Sugar should soak up skin oils.
Bring water to boil, covered. Pour over sugared rinds. Cool 20 min. Remove rinds.
Squeeze flesh into another bowl, strain into sugar mix. Stir well. Chill.




Tuesday, May 1, 2018

1.7 g Net Carb Peanut Butter Cookies

Credit to my dad!

1 cup peanut butter 
1 cup carbquik 
1/3 cup each of polydextrose, sucralose, and erithytol 
1/6 cup butter
2 eggs. 
Made 28 cookies. Each cookie has a little less than 2 grams "net carbs"

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Orange Pie

From an ancient newspaper clipping, this recipe is credited to Lenore A. Stein. And by ancient I only mean a few decades old.

3/4 c sugar
4 T cornstarch
1/4 c butter
1 T orange rind (I interpret this as zest)
1/4 c orange juice
1 c milk
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 c sour cream
thin orange slices (1 orange)

Combine sugar and cornstarch. Add butter, rind, juice, milk, and yolks. Cook, stirring, until thick. Cool slightly. Fold in sour cream. Put into baked crust. Decorate with orange slices. Chill 4-6 hours.

The recipe notes it can also be made with lemon juice and zest. I am considering making it with orange slices and zest, but with cranberry juice, for Thanksgiving. (I'm still hunting for my perfect nod to cranberries for Thanksgiving.)


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.