Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Make Again: Yes (quick and easy for a hot summer day.)
Recipe Source: CI's bulletin board from Nancy, via Crystal, I think :-)
I modified it slightly to use a little less oil and so I could only open up one (slightly larger) can of black beans
Black Bean and Couscous Salad
1 cup uncooked couscous
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
8 scallions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I used jarred roasted)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 (20 ounce) cans black beans, drained
salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a 2 quart or larger sauce pan and stir in the couscous. Cover the pot and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar and cumin. Add green onions, red pepper, cilantro, corn and beans and toss to coat.
3. Fluff the couscous well, breaking up any chunks. Add to the bowl with the vegetables and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve at once or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
I used this book a lot before I discovered Cook's Illustrated, but I haven't used it much lately. I am revisiting this book, but I have forgotten what I've tried, and I don't always remember if I liked the things I tried. I'm going to try to keep track better with this blog.
To see the recipes I have tried and reviewed from this book, click on the link "julia" below.
Rest Time: 30 minutes to 8 hours (longer is better)
Dough Mix/Knead Time: 15 minutes
Rise Time: 2-3 hours
Bake Time: 3-5 minutes
Recipe Source: Baking with Julia (Contributing bakers Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid)
Note: Dough can be stored for up to a week in refrigerator, and little pieces may be pulled off to bake 1 or a few pitas at a time.
I used my Kitchenaid Mixer for this, but hand kneaded at the end. I wasn't exactly sure how the dough should feel and flour measurements given were imprecise. I ended up with a slightly sticky dough, but dry enough that I could knead with well floured hands.
There are 2 methods of baking these: 1) on a baking stone in a 450 degree oven, or 2) in a pan on the stovetop. I tried both. Neither one gave me the nice air bubble that I was hoping for. My stone may not have preheated enough. I will keep trying though, because these are very good even if they don't look as pretty as I would like. It is great to be able to make a few of these at a time.
Another theory I have for them not popping up with air is that they were too thin. The recipe says to roll out to 8-9 inches and says the dough should be less than 1/4" thick. Even rolling out to about 7" got me pitas that were definitely less than 1/4". Because I was going for 8", they really got almost see through in parts. (My rolling technique needs improvement for sure.) The first one I did ended up being very lopsided, stretched out and uneven.
But, as I mentioned, these tasted great, so looks aside, this is a recipe I will use again.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Cook Time: 15 minutes
This is my recipe, but it was inspired by a pasta recipe from Everyday Foods magazine. I like that pasta recipe, but this is a little bit simpler and is a nice side dish. I'm not a big fan of Cauliflower plain, but I do like it when it is roasted or part of a casserole/gratin type dish. The roasting is pretty healthy, but the casseroles are way too heavy for a vegetable dish. This is a nice alternative, where you get the crunchy topping and a little butter flavor, but can still taste the vegetable.
You could skip the bread crumbs, but they add a nice crunch. Do not try to used dried breadcrumbs, they will be nasty in this dish, because they are not cooked. If you think it is a pain to pull out the food processor for this one little step (I agree), you can make a lot of fresh bread crumbs at once and freeze what you don't need for use another time.
If I am using fresh thyme I like to add it before adding the water and steaming. If I am using dried, I add it with the salt at the beginning.
2 slices bread (stale is OK) , torn into several pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets about 1"
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Put bread in food processor and pulse 10-15 times until you get a nice crumb, smaller than pea size (see picture below), but larger than dried bread crumbs. You should have 3/4 to 1 cup.
2. Toast bread crumbs in a small skillet over medium, stirring frequently so they don't burn. When dried out, remove from heat.
3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
4. Add cauliflower and 1/8 teaspoon salt and all of the thyme. Increase heat to medium-high and saute for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
5. Add 1/4 cup water and cover for a few minutes, till cauliflower is tender. Remove cover and make sure all water has evaporated. Turn heat up if necessary to get rid of excess moisture.
6. Remove from heat and toss with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Cool Time: 10 minutes + plus hour or two
Make Again: Yes
Recipe Source: Jane Brody's Good Food Book
I really like this bread, but it can be a little tart in bites because of the rhubarb. I discovered some rhubarb plants on the side of my garage when I bought my house. I found this recipe and have been making this bread once a year for the past 7 or 8 years. The recipe makes 2 loves, and it freezes well.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Make Again: Yes
Recipe: Cook's Illustrated Magagzine July 2005
My picture is of the leftovers, and doesn't look as good as the freshly cooked version. This is an easy recipe and my favorite stir fry recipe. It went very well with the Pan Roasted Broccoli with Asian flavors.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Cook Time: 6-8 minutes
Make Again: Yes
Recipe: Cook's Illustrated January 2006
There are lots of good variations of this recipe from Cook's Illustrated on the subscriber website shown above. The one I have tried several times and liked was with the Spicy Southeast Asian Flavors. It is very delicious and goes well as a side dish for any type of Asian food.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
The recipe is found in America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and Baking Illustrated. I think I have a made a tart before once or twice, but I don't really remember. (The reason, I am using this blog is to keep better track.)
I made the full tart dough recipe one night, then tried to make mini tarts the second night. I have 6 mini tart pans, and I was able to get 4 tarts out of half of the dough.
I had a lot of trouble with the tart crust. I believe I did the tart recipe correctly, however, my oven was running hot and I didn't have the time to let it cool down enough, so I think that caused the problem. The dough got dark brown very quickly, and was very greasy. When I tried to pull the foil off, it was still soft, even though it looked like it was done, because of the color.
It looked and tasted a like one of those cookies (whose name I cannot remember) that is basically a very buttery and thin cookie that you can mold and shape into bowls or other things before it cools off.
I worked on making 1/3 of the lemon filling recipe after pulling these out of the oven, and I did OK with that, but I didn't keep stirring like I was supposed to and it started to boil a bit, and got thick quicker than it was supposed. I poured it into all 4 pans, even though there was really only enough filling for 2 or 3.
Everything is then baked a little longer. The tart filling looked a little hole-y, but otherwise was OK.
These were not pans with removable bottoms, so I had to work to get the tarts out. Some of them broke because the crust was too moist (greasy, really.)
I think the main problem was the oven temperature. I have the other half of the tart dough in the freezer to try again sometime in the (hopefully) near future. Regardless of the looks, these tarts were really very delicious.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 60 minutes
Cool Time: 10 minutes + more to room temp.
Make Again: Yes
Recipe Source: Baking with Julia (contributing baker Norman Love)
I used to make this cake on occasion, but then I tried the Cook's Illustrated version and started to use that one when I wanted an easy lemon cake recipe. I finally tried this one again, because I had some lemons and heavy cream that I really needed to use up.
In fact, one lemon was so far beyond its prime that it had a tiny bit of mold. I decided to wash and cut away the mold and get the zest. The lemon was so soft, the moldy part of the peel just brushed off when I was washing it. Did that deter me from using the zest. No! It still seemed to have good lemon flavor, so I went ahead.
This recipe is similar to the CI recipe, but it is a little lighter, using 1/2 c. cream and 1/3 c. butter instead of a full cup of butter. It really is like a lemon pound cake, and is pretty easy to make.
The recipe says you can make it in 5 minutes. I admit to not being the fastest in the kitchen, but the only way you can make it in 5 minutes, is if you have all your ingredients prepped (and I included all of that in my prep time). I like both recipes, but they do end up creating different types of cakes. This one seems a little sturdier and easier to eat without a fork.
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
pinch of salt
Grated zest from 3 large lemons
1 3/4 c. cake flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 c. heavy cream, at room temperature
5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 350 and place a rack in center of oven.
2. Butter and flour a 9x5 loaf pan.
3. Whisk together eggs, sugar and salt for 1 minute, until foamy and blended. NOT long enough to thicken.
4. Whisk in grated zest.
5. Spoon flour and baking powder into a sifter and sift 1/3 into egg mixture. Whisk flour into eggs, lightly. Repeat 2 more times, without beating.
6. Whisk in heavy cream.
7. Fold in butter with a rubber spatula.
8. Pour mixture into pan and put in oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes until center crowns and cracks and a toothpick comes out clean.
9. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before unmolding and cooling to room temperature.
Cake can be stored wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for 3 or 4 days, or double-wrapped and frozen for a month.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Make Again: Yes
I combined and adjusted recipes from Cook's Illustrated magazine and the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. This has a slightly lighter dressing with less fat used and no sugar, which I don't find is needed with the sweetness of these ingredients.
It is really my favorite way to make a salad with baby spinach.
Wilted Spinach Salad
Makes 3 - 4 large servings.
2 slices bacon, minced
9-12 oz baby spinach
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 T. Balsamic vinegar
1 T. Water
1. Hard boil the eggs. Put in saucepan with water and 2 t. salt over high. When water starts to boil, turn off heat, cover and let sit 10 minutes. Set in cold water when done. Peel eggs and cut into quarters.
2. Meanwhile, saute bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes.
3. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
4. Pour off all fat except 1 T.
5. Saute onion in fat with olive oil and 1/4 t. salt for a few minutes, until softened.
6. Add water, vinegar and pepper to taste off heat.
7. Combine spinach and dressing in a large bowl. Top with bacon bits and egg quarters.