Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ashley's Salad

And a classic from the class dinners of the later days in Rochester! A delicious, crowd-pleasing salad from the Bournes. Featured at Amy's baby shower, too, in massive quantities. Ashley notes that she doubled the salad (from how it's given here) and halved the dressing, and there was still plenty of dressing. I've gone ahead and given the halved dressing amount, which by that calculation, should still be about twice the amount you need to dress one salad.

Apple Craisin Salad

1 head red leaf lettuce
1 head green leaf lettuce
1 c Craisins
1 Granny Smith apple (thinly sliced); toss it in dressing to prevent browning
1 to 1 1/2 c slivered almonds


3/4 c sugar
1 t dry mustard
1 t salt
1/3 c vinegar
1 1/2 t onion juice (grated purple onion)
1 c salad oil
1 T poppy seeds

Candy the almonds by putting 3-4 T of sugar in frying pan. Put in nuts and cook until sugar melts and coats the nuts on medium-high heat. Be sure to keep stirring until the nuts turn a light brown. This will happen very fast-- don't overcook! When they are browned, remove from heat and spread nuts onto a plate for cooling. You will need to spread them and break them apart because they will stick together.

Dressing: Put all ingredients into a blender and mix thoroughly.

Heidi's Fudge Revel Bars

A classic from the early Rochester days!

Cream:           1 C butter
                      2 C brown sugar
Cream in:        2 eggs
                      2 t vanilla
Add mixed dries: 3 C oats
                      2 1/2 C flour
                      1 t baking soda
                      1 t salt
In a saucepan, melt:
                      1 can sweetened condensed milk
                      1 package chocolate chips (about 12 oz)
                      2 T butter
                      2 t vanilla

Smooth about 2/3 of the cookie part in the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan; pour the chocolate mixture on top of this; drop the rest of the cookie mixture on top somewhat evenly. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Some recipes online put the same amount of cookie in a jelly roll pan.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Talbots' Marinade

S. marinated and B. grilled, and the chicken was so good. 

The recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated, May 1, 2009.

3 T olive oil
1 T minced fresh herbs, such as tarragon, chives, basil, or parsley
1 T fresh lemon juice
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 1 T)
1 t sugar
1 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
2 T water

Whisk together in medium bowl. Place marinade and up to 2 lbs chicken in gallon-sized zipper-lock bag; press out as much air as possible and seal bag. Depending on chicken type, refrigerate 30-90 minutes. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts should be marinated for no less than 30 minutes and no more than 1 hour. Skin-on, bone-in chicken should be marinated for at least 45 minutes and no longer than 90 minutes.Flip bag halfway through to ensure that chicken marinates evenly.


Curried Chicken (or turkey) Salad

A crowd-pleaser, expertly made by Meredith.

When asked about the recipe, she sounded like Mom: "It's in The Joy! Look in The Joy!"

Curried Chicken or Turkey Salad
combine in a medium bowl:
           2 c diced cooked chicken or turkey
           1/4 c chopped toasted walnuts, almonds, or cashews (Mere used cashews)
           3 scallions, chopped
           2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
           (1 apple, cored, peeled, and coarsely chopped)
           (1/4 c dark or golden raisins)
mix in:
          a mayonnaise made of:
                 1 T curry powder toasted 30-60 sec in a skillet over low heat with 1T vegetable oil, cooled
                 1/2 c mayonnaise
                 1/2 t lime juice
                 1/2 t honey
                 1/8 t salt      
          salt and black pepper to taste
serve on a bed of lettuce leaves.

**Alternatives for the fruit might include water chestnuts, cucumber, red bell pepper, sweet onion


This last week I planned a baby shower for my dear friend ALB. It turned out nicely! The menu was well-received: curried chicken salad, a nice green salad with dried fruits and nuts, fruit salad, and rolls. For dessert I made a layered semifreddo dish that I sort of made up out of various epicurious recipes. I based my white, pink, and yellow semifreddo terrine off of recipes for marshmallow semifreddo, raspberry semifreddo (converted to strawberry), and meyer lemon semifreddo. Each recipe makes a loaf pan's worth, so I just made the recipes one at a time and layered them among three loaf pans total. It is important to let each layer freeze thoroughly before trying to add the next.

I'll post the recipes to the marshmallow and meyer lemon layers (I simplified both considerably), because I was satisfied with those. The strawberry layer turned out a wee bit icy (which some people claimed to like!), no doubt because I messed with it after it was "done" because it wasn't pink enough. So I kept adding more strawberry product until I liked the color.

Also of note: first, meyer lemons were cheaper at Wegmans than regular lemons, and I am glad, because I really think they do have a lovely flavor. Second, I had planned to put toasted sliced almonds at the bottom of the pans, but then I burnt my almonds. Arrgh. I still think that would be a good textural and flavor touch. The idea comes from the meyer lemon recipe, but I think it would be nice snug against a marshmallow layer.

To slice the semifreddos, turn them out of their pans and use a large knife dipped in hot water to cut 1 inch slices. Work fast! I served mine with sugared strawberries.

Marshmallow Semifreddo

2 c chilled heavy whipping cream
14 oz marshmallow creme

With electric mixer, beat cream to soft peaks-- not past. Beat in marshmallow creme. This will require a lot of beating, so be sure to not beat it too much at first. It might never feel fully incorporated. Fine. Do not create marshmallow-flecked butter. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap (leaving a generous overhang) or use a spring-form pan. Spread in pan and freeze till firm, at least 4 hours but up to 1 day.

Meyer Lemon Semifreddo

1 3/4 c chilled heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 c sugar
7 large egg yolks
1/2 c fresh Meyer lemon juice or regular lemon juice
1 T plus 2 t finely grated Meyer lemon peel or regular lemon peel
1/4 t salt

With electric mixer, beat cream to soft peaks. Refrigerate.

Whisk 1 1/4 c sugar, yolks, juice, zest, and salt in large metal bowl. Set bowl over large saucepan of simmering water. Whisk continuously until thick and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Remove bowl from over simmering water. Beat with mixer till thick, cool, and doubled in volume, about 6 minutes. Fold in chilled whipped cream. Transfer to loaf pan lined with plastic wrap (with a generous overhang). Tap lightly to remove air pockets. Cover and freeze until firm, 8 hours or overnight.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cheddar Chorizo Grits

Sticky Lips BBQ here in Rochester has won me over with their barbecue sauce and their cheddar chorizo grits, served as a side with pretty much anything you order. I decided they would probably be pretty easy to replicate. I found some recipes online that seemed similar, and modified one from a hospitality-industry site. I think I pretty much hit the nail on the head. I brought these to a potluck dinner, and some people hate on grits, so not many got eaten. I didn't mind because I knew that not many people would try them, and that grits are an acquired taste, and that I am in a land of yanks who would likely be wary both before and after the first-taste process.

So I had a lot of leftovers, which was ok, because I really liked the grits I made. Pooh-pooh to the haters. And despite my very grits-literate, Carolina-sired roommate's advice to NEVER LET THEM GET COLD (Hi CS!), I like them even better re-warmed to the point of crunchy edges. Although it would be better for one's health to share them with other grits-lovers.

Cheddar Chorizo Grits
2 1/2 c milk
1/2 c regular white grits
2 T butter
2 T cream
1 c diced chorizo
1 c grated cheddar cheese
Tabasco and mustard to taste
salt, pepper

Bring milk and chorizo to boil. Add butter. While stirring, slowly add grits, breaking up any lumps. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until grits are tender and slightly thick, 15 to 20 minutes. Add cream and cheese, stirring till cheese is completely melted. Season with salt, pepper, and Tabasco.  I added some prepared mustard because I know from making Welsh Rarebit that mustard makes cheese taste cheesier than cheese. I think the trick worked.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Green Beans with Toasted Walnuts and Dried-Cherry Vinaigrette

I made this for Passover this year, and enjoyed it. I used toasted pecans rather than walnuts, and a mostly-rice-vinegar-some-red-wine-vinegar mix instead of sherry vinegar. The green beans I got at the Rochester Public Market were really slender and cute.  From Bon Appetit Nov 2010, via Epicurious.

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper plus additional (for sprinkling)
  • 1/3 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1 1/2 pounds trimmed slender green beans (such as haricots verts)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted , chopped

  • Whisk first 6 ingredients and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Mix in dried cherries; set aside. DO AHEAD: Vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature; rewhisk before using.
    Fill large bowl with water and ice; set aside. Cook green beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain. Transfer to bowl with ice water; cool. Drain. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in paper towels; enclose in resealable plastic bag and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.
    Toss green beans, walnuts, and vinaigrette in large bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Transfer to platter and serve.

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake

    Made on recommendation of S., for her birthday.
    This method is a hot sponge, I believe, which reliable sources have called unreliable.
    But I made this in a bundt pan, and (thanks, S.) really liked it. Its texture and flavor are quite like that of a boxed chocolate cake, and, dash it all, I like the texture and flavor of boxed chocolate cake.

    1/2 c vegetable oil
    1 c boiling water
    2 eggs
    1 1/2 t baking soda
    1 1/2 t baking powder
    1 3/4 c AP flour
    2 t vanilla
    1 c milk
    1 t salt
    3/4 c cocoa
    2 c sugar

    Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. 

    Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans. 

    Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. 

    ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

    THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost. 

    BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

    CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.