Monday, November 30, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Of all the many things I learned during my 12 year tenure at Good Housekeeping, perhaps the most lasting will be how the presentation of a perfect popover is guaranteed to make even the most fabulous meal -- breakfast, lunch, dinner -- even more so. Their recipe for giant popovers (The All New Good Housekeeping Cookbook) cannot be improved upon. But, given the season, I tinkered with it a little to come up with this variation. In the picture you'll notice I served this with the Lemon Ginger Honey Jelly we did in the Hot Topics Canning Club post. A perfect pairing.
1 c. milk
1/2 cup cooked pumpkin, canned is fine
3 T. butter, melted
1 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
Preheat oven to 375. Generously grease eight 6-oz. custard cups or a popover pan. I've gotten best results with Pam. If using the custard cups you'll want to place them on a baking sheet for easy handling.
In a blender combine eggs, milk, pumpkin, melted butter, flour and salt. Blend until smooth. Distribute evenly among the custard cups or a popover pan. Don't fill more than 2/3 the way full.
Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes. With the tip of a knife make a slit in the tops of each to release the steam, then bake 10 minutes longer. Immediately remove popovers from cups (use a knife or small spatula if they stick a bit) and serve hot.
Pass the butter!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
I digress. The matter at hand is the small Thanksgiving dinner. Next week we're going to brother Brendan's in Connecticut where there will be a full house with my four nieces and nephews, plus my sister-in-law Karen's family. Fun. But there have been other years when it's just been four people at our house, even once just the two of us. Watching Macy's parade followed by turkey for two is just fine. And you can prepare things that would just be unmanageable for a larger group. Like this pumpkin souffle, which has to go from oven to table immediately.
5 large egg yolks
6 large egg whites (so yes one wasted yolk)
Butter or Pam cooking spray
2 T. grated parmesan cheese
4 T. butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk, warmed
1/2 cup cooked pumpkin, canned is fine
4 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 t. each of cumin, ground coriander, white pepper, cayenne
1/2 t. salt
2 T. pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a two quart souffle dish and then sprinkle the parmesan all around the bottom and sides.
Make the pumpkin and cheese sauce: Melt 4 T. butter in a saute pan and when hot whisk in flour and cook over medium-low heat for one minute after it begins to bubble, whisking all the while. Whisk in the warmed milk gradually. Simmer for three minutes, stirring all the while with a wooden spoon. Sauce will reduce and thicken. Stir in the grated cheese, the pumpkin, the spices and the salt. Cook briefly until cheese is melted and everything is smooth and incorporated. Remove from heat.
In a mixing bowl, whisk yolks well then whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot pumpkin cheese sauce. Then whisk that mixture back into the sauce in the saute pan, whisking rapidly to prevent curdling. Now pour all of this back into the mixing bowl.
Beat the egg whites until nice and stiff. Fold a third of it into the sauce in the mixing bowl, incorporate well, and then gently fold in the remainder, taking care to not to stir it too much or else the whites will loose volume.
Spoon this into the prepared souffle dish. Run a spoon or a spatula through the mixture in circle about 1" from the rim -- this will make the middle part rise higher than the edges, adding to the visual impact of the all-important rising. Sprinkle the peptitas over the top, they will float on the surface.
Bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes, the souffle will be puffed up and golden brown. Take to the table immediately, you want to enjoy it while it's still inflated and nice and hot.
I've also got a pumpkin popover recipe in the pipeline. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Everyone should have a couple of reliable recipes for signature cakes and desserts. This Irish Apple Cake first came into my life from Myrtle Allen's Ballymaloe House cookbook, published in 1990. Steve and I visited the famous farm-cum-guesthouse-cum-restaurant outside of Cork a while back. Since I enjoyed the cookbook so much, filled with interesting recipes and stories from the Irish countryside, our luncheon at Ballymaloe and subsequent tour of the gardens was akin to a personal Irish Haj.
Our visit, and the cookbook, occured before the advent of the great dulce de leche craze. As I'm not one to knock a good thing I thought perhaps a little cross-cultural, Ireland meets Latin America might work nicely. Turns out it's a splendid idea. If there could be any criticism of the original recipe, it would be that to some tastes it might be a bit austere. Adding a good dose of dulce de leche to the apple filling gives a nice sweet gooiness to the enterprise without overwhelming the original concept. I also added the apple slice fan to the top as well as the candied mint leaf garnish. Myrtle's not big on showiness for its own sake in her recipes, though I don't imagine she'd greatly mind these little embellishments.
IRISH APPLE DULCE DE LECHE CAKE
2 cups flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup plus 2-3 T. sugar
2 extra large eggs, 1 of them beaten with 1 T. milk for a glaze
7 T. cold milk
2 tart cooking apples -- Myrtle recommends Rome Beauty or Bramley's Seedlings, which "break down in the required way to a white foamy mass when cooked." Lucky you if you have a source for these heirloom varieties. Sturdy, standard Granny Smiths perform admirably
6 generous T. dulce de leche
Coarse turbinado or cane sugar if you have it, if not another T. of regular sugar will do
Lightly butter a 9" pie plate.
Sift the flour and baking powder together in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course meal. Stir in 1/2 cup of the sugar. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the unblended egg, beaten, and the milk all at once. Stir to make a very soft, wet, sticky dough that does not clean the sides of the bowl. With floured hands pat half the dough into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
Peel and core the apples and slice half of one thinly, making enough slices to fan out around the top of the cake. Cut the rest up into smallish (not tiny) chunks. Distribute the apple chunks evenly on the dough in the pie plate to within 3/4" of the edge then sprinkle the remaining 2-3 T. of sugar over the apples. Drop the 6 generous blobs of dulce de leche in an even circle on top of the apples, not too close to the edge. Moisten the edges of the dough with a brushing of the egg/milk glaze.
Sprinkle a large dinner plate with flour and pat the remaining dough onto the plate, making a circle big enough for the top crust. Invert the plate and the dough over the apples in the pie plate. Pinch the bottom and top crusts together, sealing well. Gently press the apple slices into a fanned circle around the top of the pie, and make an X cut in the center of the ring to let steam escape. Neatness counts. Brush the entire top with the egg/milk glaze, and sprinkle with sugar. I've got some really nice, course brown crystals of Hawaiian cane sugar that work well. Simple sugar is fine too and lends the top of the cake a little sparkle.
Bake the cake in the middle of a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, when the dough will be golden and the apples will be tender. The stick-a-toothpick into the cake test isn't a reliable measure here -- the apples and dulche de leche will always cling to the toothpick. If you have any doubts leave it in for another 5 minutes, though I've always found 45 minutes to produce a thoroughly baked yet still moist cake.
Garnish with candied mint leaves if you have them. It's not a tragedy if you don't and the relative simplicity of the unadorned cake is probably more in keeping with Irish reserve anyway. Serve warm. Perfect and complete as it is, no one is going to refuse a nice slathering of whipped cream so go ahead, live a little.
Voila! Irish Apple Dulce de Leche Cake Mit Schlag. As fit for the General Assembly of the United Nations as it is for the ending of one your memorable meals.
Posted by Sean K. Sullivan at 5:23 AM
Monday, November 16, 2009
Now mix it together -- meat and cheese sauce, peppers and mushrooms, pasta and peas -- and place in a buttered two quart baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the bread crumbs, some extra cheese and the slivered almonds.
Into a preheated 375 degree oven it goes. Forty five minutes should do it if everything is still pretty hot when you assemble it; an hour or a bit longer if things have cooled down. It's done when the top is toasty brown and it's bubbling up around the sides.
So here's the story Mom sent with the recipe:
"It was Judy Cassilly's recipe (son Bob, sculptor - founder of City Museum) that we "published" in our recipe book "Not By Bread Alone" (title idea from Dan and artwork done by Bob Cassilly senior). The recipe book and taste luncheon, in which all the recipes in the book were served, was to benefit St. Henry's, an inner city parish we were assisting. ("We" mostly Holy Redeemer and neighbors in Webster Park).
We also had an ice skating party benefit at which we served hot rum punch BEFORE the ice skating - there were several accidents at the rink, most notably a broken arm. Despite the mishaps the party was deemed a big success! (We were so young)"
So back to your leftovers. You're bound to have more turkey stock, at least some of the turkey meat and fat which is the foundation of another excellent Thanksgiving follow up, TURKEY RISOTTO. Good thing here is that the stock and fat will do all the heavy lifting when it comes to flavoring the rice, so if you're running low on meat at this point not to worry, you really don't want a meat-laden risotto. If you've had success with risotto before, Turkey Risotto is pretty much a no-brainer: start with some of the fat to saute your onions, a bit of garlic or shallots, some mushrooms, then use that wonderful simmering stock as you stir, stir, stir the aborio rice. Thyme is an essential addition, fresh preferred, and lots of chopped parsley too. And more of that good Parmesan cheese.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
So I invited the gang out for a day of peeling, chopping, juicing, grating, stewing, jar sterilizing and many many dips into the essential boiling water bath. Three hours flew by and at the conclusion we'd put up a dozen jars of Lemon Honey Ginger Jelly, 20 jars of a fine and spicey Autumn Pear Chutney, and three dozen jars of Cranberry Rosemary Mustard. Recipes to follow.
In the photos that's Kerri at the pear prep station, Lauren bringing in her zested lemons for juicing, Lisa manning the boiling water bath and Elizabeth filling the chutney jars. Astute eyes will notice Elizabeth is due with twins in about four weeks, but no worries, we had plenty of boiling water and an ample supply of clean dish towels in the event of the unexpected.
A note about equipment: plenty of measuring cups and spoons goes without saying. You'll need large, non-reactive pots to cook the chutney and jelly and then the biggest pot you can manage with a rack on the bottom for the all-important boiling water bath. A good strong food processor. Ball's specialized home canning tools: the funnel that perfectly fits the jar openings, the wide ended tongs to lower and raise the jars from the boiling bath, the magnetic tipped wand to pluck the lids from the simmering hot water.
CRANBERRY ROSEMARY MUSTARD
2 cups whole yellow mustard seeds (try Indian markets or online)
4-5 cups red wine vinegar
2 t. salt
2 cups dried sweetened cranberries
6 t. dried rosemary
Put the mustard seeds in a non-reactive bowl or plastic storage container, add the salt and cranberries, and cover with the vinegar. 4 cups should cover the seeds to start, but they soon start to absorb the liquid and swell up considerably. Continue to add vinegar so that the mustard seeds are just covered. Most of the swelling will happen in the first day.
The seeds and cranberries need to soak at least three days, covered, room temperature is fine, no need to refrigerate. Just keep an eye on it to make sure the vinegar just covers the seeds. And be prepared to use more than 5 cups. Don't sweat it, the important thing is that the seeds absorb as much vinegar as they want to.
After this good long soak, scrape the mixture 2 cups at a time into a food processor fitted with a sharp blade. (Sorry, a blender just doesn't work.) Process on high for 12 minutes (yes, 12 minutes). Then add 2 t. of the rosemary and process 3 minutes more.
You'll end up with a creamy mustard with some yellow seeds still visible. Process longer if you want a smoother mustard, less if you like it grainier. You'll always see some seeds unless you strain the mustard, which is a lot more trouble than it's worth. Texture = home made = good.
Mustard keeps just about forever in the refrigerator, or for a longer shelf life process in sterilized canning jars and lids for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Using whole dried mustard seeds gives this recipe some heat ensuring it will be a Hot Topic at your holiday table.
AUTUMN PEAR CHUTNEY
4 quarts roughly chopped pears (about 20). A mixture is good. Peel dark ones like Boscs. Light skinned pears such as Anjous needn't be peeled. You want firm pears. Luscious, soft and juicy pears ripe and ready for eating lack the sturdiness needed for chutney.
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup chopped onion
3 cups light brown sugar
1/4 cup whole yellow mustard seeds
2 T. peeled fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 t. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t. dried hot red pepper flakes
1 t. ground allspice
1 t. ground cloves
5 cups white vinegar
Combine everything in a large non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Ladle hot chutney into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Put on caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.
This recipe makes 14 or more half pint jars. Delicious right away and tastes better when it's had at least 2 weeks to meld all the flavors.
LEMON GINGER HONEY JELLY
(From Edon Waycott's Preserving the Taste)
2 1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 T. lemon zest
1 T. orange zest
3 T. minced crystallized ginger, rinsed first to remove visible sugar
3 oz. commercial pectin (1 pouch of Certo)
Bring honey, lemon juice, orange juice, the zests and the ginger to a boil in a large non-reactive pot. When it's boiling good and well, add the pectin. Bring back to a full rolling boil and boil hard for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, skim off any accumulated foam, and gently stir for a few minutes so the zest and ginger are evenly distributed.
Ladle into hot sterilized jars and seal. Seal and process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes. Or you can do what's called the open canning method -- when the jars are filled and sealed, invert for five minutes and then turn right-side up. This is how I've always done it and it works out just fine.
This recipe makes about 4 cups.
This has to sit for a couple of hours before it sets. Don't get discouraged, it will get there.
Perfect on hot buttered toast and also a wonderful glaze for roasted or grilled chicken or pork -- apply in the final five minutes of cooking so it doesn't burn.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
7 lb. cooking pumpkin
2 lbs. tart apples
2" length of peeled ginger root, minced
5 cloves garlic
1 T. ground black pepper
1 T. ground allspice
2 T. whole yellow mustard seed
1 T. salt
4 c. malt vinegar
2 c. white vinegar
1 c. dried currants
1 c. pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
4 c. light brown sugar
With a sharp heavy knife, cut the pumpkin into 1/2" cubes, skin removed. The peeled apples should be sliced in 1/4" half-moons.Dice the onions and mince the garlic.
Combine everything in a large non-reactive pot and simmer for two hours. For the 1st hour leave the lid on, then for the second hour take the lid off so the liquid boils down creating a syrup. Stir occassionaly throughout the process, especially more so towards the end when the mixture is thicker and in more danger of scortching.
Ladle into hot sterilized jars, seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
Like most chutneys, Pumpkin Chutney benefits from a couple of weeks of resting to meld all the flavors. This recipes makes 16 8 oz. jars.
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