Meyer Lemon BarsI love this recipe because it uses the whole lemon, something I've always wished more citrus-based recipes would do. I have reduced the sugar, because meyer lemons are sweeter than a standard lemon and because I like desserts to be very tart.There's something really refreshing to me about not letting anything go to waste. The whole lemon lends the bar a very nice firm texture and their soft yellow color.Ingredients for Crust:1 cup all-purpose baking flour1/4 cup unrefined sugar1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract8 Tbs or 1 stick of melted unsalted butterIngredients for Lemon Curd Topping:1 meyer lemon, organic or unsprayed2/3 cup unrefined sugar3 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from a regular old tart lemon, not a meyer)*3 large eggs, at room temperature4 teaspoons cornstarch1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt3 Tbs. melted unsalted butter, cooledDirections:1. Preheat the oven to 350 Farenheit.2. Prepare an 8-inch square baking pan by lining it with tin foil, shiny side down.3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 tsp. coarse sea salt together. Drizzle 8 Tbs. melted butter and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract over the mix and combine with hands until the crust dough has the consistency of crumbly wet sand.4. Press the crust dough into the prepared pan and smooth into the corners evenly with your hands. You can also use a spatula to smooth the surface so its flat.5. Bake the crust for 25 minutes, until it is nice and golden.6. While the crust bakes, prepare the topping. Cut the meyer lemon in half and remove the seeds with a small, sharp paring knife. Divide the lemon into quarters.7. Place lemon quarters in a food processor or blender (I used a blender), along with 2/3 cup unrefined sugar and 3 Tbs. lemon juice. Whiz it until the lemon is properly broken up, then add 3 eggs, 4 tsp. cornstarch, 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt, and 3 Tbs. melted butter. Process again until the mixture is smooth (but not too frothy!). It's okay if there's still a few bits of lemon here or there, that will enhance the texture of the bar.8. Take the crust out of the oven, and pour the topping over the hot crust. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees Farenheit. Bake for another 25 minutes, or until the filling has barely set and doesn't wiggle when you give it a small shake.9. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool completely. Once cool, carefully lift the bars out of the pan. Cut the bars evenly into squares or smaller rectangles. Sift confectioner's sugar on top if you like and serve. **Yield: 9-12 bars.* I liked these best when I used regular lemon juice as opposed to meyer lemon juice, to give them a bit more acidity.** The tarts can be stored at room temperature in a airtight container for 3 days, or stored for up to a month in the freezer and thawed before serving.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Chorizo and Chickpea Stew For TwoThis recipe is intended to be flexible. It can easily be transformed as a vegetarian dish, and sometimes I add a little squid or shrimp if I have any in the freezer. I really enjoy the sweetness of sherry against the heat of the pimenton. This is enough stew for two people, or you can be greedy as I am and save the rest for lunch the following day.Ingredients:1 Tbs. olive oil6-8 oz. chorizo4 shallots, thinly sliced1 stalk celery, chopped2 cloves garlic1/4 cup dry fino sherry1/2 cup crushed tomatoes1 can chickpeas, liquid reserved1 teaspoon pimenton (or more to taste)Juice of a half a lemon1 handful of cilantro or parsely, roughly chopped with a few sprigs for garnish (optional)Salt and Pepper, to tasteDirections:1. Over medium heat, swirl 1 Tbs. olive oil around a saucepan with a heavy bottom.2. Add the chorizo to the pan and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.3. Add the shallots and celery to the pan and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Now add the garlic and stir once more. Add salt and pepper.4. Pour the dry sherry into the pan, and stand back for it will throw out quite a bit of steam and make a nice hissing sound. Allow the alcohol to cook off for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring to scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan.5. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and pimenton to the pan. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes. If the stew looks too soupy for your taste, add a bit of the reserved chickpea liquid to thicken it.6. Add the lemon juice and cilantro or parsely. Taste the stew and adjust seasonings if you see fit. I often like to add a little more pimenton. Serve hot with rice or couscous.Yield: 2 servings
Sunday, December 26, 2010
We'ree nestled in for a giant winter storm compounded with an astronomical high tide on the coast of Massachusetts. This is my home. The home away from Portland. Ah, and how could I forget my other home? Here she is:
Sour Cream Coffee CakeBy folding sour cream into the batter the cake gains a tanginess that plays against the vanilla and walnuts, keeping it from tasting too sweet. I like to sprinkle a little grey sea salt in the top of the cake, so you get a little bit of flaky zing in the mix. When I get restless, I might add a tiny bit of lemon zest. I view an extra pat of butter on my slice as obligatory, but you may omit it.Ingredients:1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 1 Tbs. extra for greasing1 cup fine granulated sugar2 eggs, at room temperature1 tsp. vanilla2 cups flour1 tsp. baking soda1 tsp. baking powder1/2 tsp. salt1 cup sour cream1 tsp. cinnamon1/3 cup brown sugar1/3 cup whole walnutsDirections:1. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F. Grease a bundt or angel-food cake pan with a Tbs. of butter.2. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and granulated sugar at medium-low speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.4. In three batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet batter, incorporating fully each time. Once done, fold the sour cream into the batter. I fold about 6 times, then stop. You should see a swirl of sour cream still. You just want it to lace the batter with that tangy flavor. Be sure not to overmix!5. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, brown sugar and walnuts. I prefer to do this with my hands. Sprinkle half of the mixture into the bottom of the bundt pan.6. Add half of the batter to the pan, spreading it over the bottom. Sprinkle the remaining half of the walnut mixture on top, then cover again with the remaining batter, smoothing the top.7. Bake the cake for 45 minutes, until the exterior is golden and a tester comes out clean.Yield: 8-12 servings.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Mrs. Booth's Famous ChiliIngredients For the Beans:* (See below)2/3 cup dried pinto beans2/3 cup dried kidney beans1 carrot, cut in half1 celery, cut in half1/2 white onion2 cloves garlic3 sprigs of marjoramIngredients for the Chili:2 Tbs. olive oil3 lbs. ground beef1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes2 large yellow onions, diced1 green bell pepper, diced1 anaheim chile, seeds removed, diced3 cloves garlic, chopped3 Tbs. ancho chili powder2 Tbs. dark brown sugar1 Tbs. crushed red pepper3 Tbs. red wine vinegar1 tsp. ground cuminsalt & pepper to tasteIngredients For The Toppings:1/4 cup creme fraiche2 tbs chopped chives1/2 cup shredded cheddar*NOTE: If you prefer to use canned beans, substitute those suggested above w/ a 15.5 oz. can each of kidney and pinto beans. Use the beans & their liquid.Directions:1. DO AHEAD: Soak the beans with enough water to cover overnight. In the morning, drain them and transfer to a medium-size sauce pan. Cover with water, add to this the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and marjoram sprigs.2. Bring the beans to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 2 hours over low heat, adding 1/2 teaspoon salt after the first hour. If the water goes too far below the beans, add more. Test the beans for doneness by scooping up a small spoonful and blowing on them. If the skins peel away, they are done. Discard the carrot, onion, celery, and bay leaf.3. To make the chili, heat the olive oil in a 4 quart, heavy bottomed dutch oven over medium heat. Add the ground beef to the pan, stirring to brown, about 8-10 minutes. When all of the beef has been carmelized, drain off the excess fat.4. To the pot add the undrained kidney and pinto beans, tomatoes, chopped onions and peppers, garlic, chili powder, dark brown sugar, crushed red pepper, red wine vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper.5. Cover and simmer the chili for at least one hour, stirring frequently to prevent burning. The chili improves if simmered for 2-3 hours, and tastes even better the following day.6. Serve the chili hot with toppings as you wish.YIELD: 8 servings
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Friulian Apple Torte with a Sourdough-Hazelnut CrustAdapted From Lidia Bastianich's Recipe
2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup hard apple cider or dry white wine
8 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from a large loaf of sourdough bread, ground in a food processor
1 cup hazelnuts
10 tablespoons sugar, divided
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
3/4 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
Powdered sugar (for dusting)
1. To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread breadcrumbs on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until dried and light golden, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool completely.
2. Toast the hazelnuts for ten minutes on a separate baking sheet for 10 minutes while the breadcrumbs are toasting. Place them in a clean dishtowel and wrap them tightly. Allow them to sit for a minute or two and rub them together to remove their husks. Allow hazelnuts to cool completely.
3. Finely grind the hazelnuts and 6 tablespoons sugar in processor. Add the toasted breadcrumbs, working in batches if necessary; process 5 seconds. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Stir in 4 tablespoons sugar, lemon peel, and salt. Combine milk and butter in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat just until butter melts. Pour milk-butter mixture over breadcrumb mixture; stir until moistened (dough will be sticky). Let dough rest in bowl until liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
4. Transfer 1 cup dough to floured work surface. Gather into ball; flatten into disk. Press out to 9-inch round; wrap in plastic. It's OK if it crumbles a little. It will help to put the round onto a plate for transfering to the fridge.Chill at least 1 hour for top crust.
5. Transfer remaining dough to work surface. Gather into ball; flatten into disk. Press disk onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom, pushing crust up to extend 1/2 inch above sides. Cover; chill at least 1 hour.
6. While the dough is chilling, make the apple filling. Arrange the apples in an even layer in a large heavy skillet. Sprinkle with sugar, then pour apple cider over. Cook and cover over medium heat until apples are tender, gently turning apples occasionally 8-10 minutes (for me this took only 6 minutes, so it depends on the variety of your apples). Some apples with fall apart, but this is alright. Uncover; cook until juices evaporate in skillet. Allow the apples to cool completely.
7. Preheat oven to 375°F. Assemble the tart. Fill crust with apple mixture. Place top crust over filling. Fold bottom crust overhang up over top crust edges, pressing together to seal. There will likely be some cracks here or there, but that is alright.
8. Bake torte until crust is deep golden and crust begins to separate from sides of pan (top crust may crack), about 1 hour. Cool in pan on rack at least 2 hours. Carefully remove sides from tart pan. Transfer to platter. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut into wedges. Serve with whipped cream.
YIELDS: 6-8 Servings.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Cold season is upon us in Oregon. I can't pinpoint why unlike years past Autumn decided to snap so suddenly into place instead of slowly settling over us. Maybe it's been doing so all along and I've been too preoccupied to notice it. One morning last week I looked out the window to find the birch leaves close to completely turned and my radiator rattling with steam. I put the ridiculously giant stock pot on the stove and filled it with whatever I had been saving in the freezer over the summer. This time several duck carcasses, (wings and back bones), and a giant bunch of leeks, thyme, carrots, and celery leaves. As luck would have it, I woke up the next day with a pinch in my throat and a raw nose. The cold my friends have caught and dispatched seems to have claimed me too. Damn!
Lucky for me, Andrew came by with a grab-bag of CSA vegetables, claiming there was so much he didn’t know if he could use it all. He unloaded an overwhelming plenty: one small but gorgeously wrinkled savoy cabbage, ivory turnips, brilliant-colored sweet peppers, a mystery white-fleshed squash, seemingly every sort of braising greens, and an onion so pungent Nancy’s eyes teared up at the first slice. Since it was such a perfect, crisp fall day we decided to make a soup out of the squash and a gratin of the cabbage and greens.
I’ve never met a butternut squash soup I didn’t like, but there’s really only one variation I love. One year for Halloween, a family friend brought over a giant pot of the stuff. Hers incorporated apples, fresh cider, and curry. It was sweet, velvety, with a subtle heat from a dash of cayenne pepper. The turmeric in the curry turns the soup a harvest-moon color and the apple gives the soup a gentle sweetness. For mine, I of course made adjustments. I use hard cider and homemade stock (because I'm a cheap little miser and refuse to let the errant bone or scrap go to waste), a little fresh thyme, shallots, and garam masala in addition to madras curry powder. Sometimes I use several different kinds of squash, in particular I love red kuri & cinderella squash for this. The soup only impoves in flavor the following day.
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
1 medium butternut squash, diced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 tart apples, peeled and diced
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. madras curry powder
1/2 tsp. of nutmeg
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper (black is fine, also)
2 cups hard cider
2 quarts of good-quality stock (vegetarian or chicken)
1/3 cup of heavy cream (optional)
1. In a large pot with a heavy bottom melt the butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Once the butter has begun to bubble, add the onion, shallots, and garlic, stirring with a wooden spoon frequently until the onions have begun to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the curry, nutmeg, and garam masala to the pot and stir to incorporate. Add the butternut squash, carrots, and apples. Stir again and allow the squash and apple to soften, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to season.
3. Add the cider to the pot, it will steam. Stir once more, then add the stock. Bring the soup to a boil and lower the heat. Simmer the soup for 40-50 minutes, until the squash is very tender.
4. Carefully ladle the soup into a blender (or skip this step entirely if you have an immersion blender--lucky duck!), working in small batches. Return the pureed soup to the pot and season again with salt and pepper if necessary. Add the cream, if using, stir and serve immediately.
Yield: 6-8 servings.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake
5 ounces hazelnuts
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cups all-purpose flour
6 extra-large egg whites
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
2. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and toast 12 to 15 minutes, until they’re golden brown and smell nutty. If they still have their skins, put the hot hazelnuts into a clean towel and rub them to remove the bitter skins. Allow the hazelnuts to cool completely.
3. Cut out a circle of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of a 10-inch round cake pan. Brush the pan with a little melted butter and line the bottom with the paper.
4. Place the rest of the butter in a medium saucepan. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise down the center, using a paring knife to scrape the seeds and pulp onto the butter. Add the vanilla pod to the pan, and cook the butter until the butter browns and smells nutty (this took about 8 minutes for me). Every so often, scrape the bottom of the pan with your spatula to make sure the butter browns evenly. Remove and discard the vanilla bean.
5. In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts with the confectioners’ sugar until a fine meal forms. Add the flour and pulse to combine. Transfer to a large bowl.
6. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the granulated sugar and mix on high speed 4 to 5 minutes, until the mixture forms very stiff peaks. When you turn the whisk upside down, the peaks should hold. Transfer the whites to a large mixing bowl.
7. Fold the dry mix and brown butter into the egg whites, a third at a time. The vanilla beans tend to sink to the bottom of the brown butter, so be sure to scrape the bottom and use it all!
8. Pour the batter into your cake pan, and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Check the cake for done-ness at 40 minutes and continue every five minutes until a toothpick inserted at the cake's center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes. Run a small, sharp knife around the inside edge of the pan, and invert the cake onto a plate. Peel off the paper, and turn the cake back over onto a serving platter. Sprinkle it with powdered sugar.