Monday, November 21, 2011

A salmon that tastes like pastrami and foie gras that turns into a soup


Have you all heard about Chefs Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough's The Complete Quick Cook? You should. I am not just saying this, because I happen to think these two are terrific, but I am saying it because it is true. I got the chance to cook from this cookbook and the first thing that caught my eye was the Grilled Pastrami-Style Salmon.


I love this recipe because it is so easy. One of those meals you can make after work and it really tastes good enough to serve to people who drop by for dinner. What? People don't do that at your house? Hmmm. Well make this for your family.


Mix a few spices and rub on salmon. That really is how easy it is.


It was cold outside so I used a grill pan. It would be awesome on the grill too. Then again, we probably won't be seeing our grill for a long long time. Living out on the frozen tundra is not good for grilling.


I loved this dinner. I made quinoa that came out of the freezer section of Trader Joes. Please! Like YOU make everything from scratch. Um, liar.


So, the "light" dinner might have come right after our Foie Gras foray (FGF). We scored some Foie Gras and decided to do a couple of things with it. My favorite was the Foie Gras Soup with Lentil Gnocchi and Balsamic Onions. I can't tell you how much I loved this.


The gnocchi was made out of lentils.


I had never made gnocchi before and it was fun.


Now I want to try other gnocchi flavors. 31 gnocchi's. Yeah, I will open up a 31 Flavors Gnocchi. I will call the shop GNOCCHI!


This is my high tech gnocchi maker!


Here they are floating around for a while.


Here is the chicken I was roasting while I was inventing gnocchi. Ok, I didn't invent it. I pretended that I was a great Foie Gras chef (that owned GNOCCHI!) and I invented all thing Foie Gras. I wouldn't hurt any animals either. They would just hand over their livers to me because I was so famous.


The Gnocchi are then browned in butter because the Foie Gras soup wasn't really rich enough.


Yumm! Gnocchi is my new BFF. The soup was incredible. Now for the chicken. I have to tell you a secret. I know that the chicken gravy had Foie Gras in it but I don't remember where I got the recipe AND I wouldn't waste Foie Gras on it again.


Yeah, here is the eh chicken.


Oh and I finished the blanket that I raffled off. I am a famous knitter too. I really did own a yarn shop called YARN! so see? It isn't out of the question owning GNOCCHI!

Grilled Pastrami-Style Salmon
Cooking Light: The Complete Quick Cook by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

1 Tbl dark brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 (1 1/2lb) Center-cut salmon fillet
1/2 tsp olive oil
Cooking Spray

1. Preheat grill.
2. Combine first 7 ingredients. Place fish, skin side down, on a cutting board or work surface; brush evenly with oil. Sprinkle spice mixture evenly over fish; gently rub mixture into fish. Cover lightly with plastic wrap, and chill 15 minutes.
3. Place fish, skin side down, on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 10 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

4 Servings (serving size: about 4.5 ounces)

Foie Gras Soup with Lentil Gnocchi and Balsamic Onions
Food and Wine (Contributed by Pierre Gagnaire>

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 thick slices of lean bacon, finely chopped
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup brown lentils
2 cups water
1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup ruby port
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
One 3-ounce slice of pure foie gras pâté, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Aged balsamic vinegar, for drizzling

MAKE THE GNOCCHI: In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the bacon, carrot and onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes. Add the lentils and water, cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Uncover and boil over high heat until most of the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Set aside 1/4 cup of the lentils. Transfer the remaining lentils and any liquid to a food processor and puree. Pass the puree through a coarse strainer into a large bowl; you should have about 1 cup.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil, then reduce the heat so the water simmers. Set a large bowl of ice water nearby. Add the flour, cheese, egg, egg yolk, salt and pepper to the lentil puree and stir until a dough forms. Transfer the dough to a resealable plastic bag. Using scissors, cut a 1/2-inch diagonal opening from a corner of the bag. Working over the simmering water, pipe out and cut 1/2-inch pieces of the dough, letting them drop into the water. Cook the gnocchi until tender, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the ice water to cool. Drain, gently pat dry with paper towels and transfer to a bowl.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the gnocchi and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

PREPARE THE BALSAMIC ONION WEDGES: Put the onion wedges on a microwave-safe plate and drizzle with the white balsamic vinegar. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high power for 1 minute.

MAKE THE FOIE GRAS BROTH: In a medium saucepan, boil the port over high heat until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture into a blender and add the foie gras cubes. Puree until smooth, then pass the foie gras broth through a fine strainer into the saucepan. Warm the broth over moderately low heat, whisking constantly; do not boil. Season with salt and pepper.

Rewarm the gnocchi. Spoon the gnocchi and the reserved lentils into 6 small bowls. Ladle the foie gras broth over the gnocchi and garnish with the onion wedges. Drizzle each serving with aged balsamic vinegar and serve right away.

MAKE AHEAD The boiled gnocchi can be lightly tossed with oil and refrigerated overnight.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sourdough Cinnamon Babkka


Why do I get involved? Why when there is something cooking related and someone says "hey lets all do this" I do it. I am so not a follower. Shut up! I am not. I am a rebel. I live on the edge. I cook with no fear. Ok, in this case I followed. It all started when Linda (better known as Salty Seattle)started #Doughvember. I can do that! I have a four year old starter and the will to bake.


I took my starter "Snot" out of the refrig to wake him up with a feeding. To my dismay I had neglected him for too long. There was no mold and he smelled fine, but I am afraid he was in a coma. He is 3 years old and I thought that maybe this time he was a goner.


I fed and waited fed and waited and it paid off. Bubbles appeared and all was right with the world (wait, that may be a little overly dramatic...all was good? My day got better?...whatever)


I had an idea that I wanted to make a Babbka. I wanted a sourdough Babbka. I would invent a Jewish Cinnamon Sourdough Babbka. I would sell them to all the deli's in New York, and L.A. There are not many deli's in New England so I would ship. I would name my company Sourpuss Babbka! I would get Jerry Seinfeld to endorse them.


I could do Chocolate too but I hate chocolate so I did the cinnamon. When I become famous I will offer Chocolate and maybe even other flavors. It will be the new Whoopie Pie, the new Cupcake, the new Macaron! The Babbka Craze. I will be the "Babbka Queen"


Yeah. There it is all rolled up. Um, there may have been a small problem. There may have been no more butter for the center. Someone (cough) like the "Babbka Queen" may have used Ghee instead. Ok ok, it wasn't bad but I recommend using butter.


The recipe is great!


The pans are put into plastic bags to rise.


I was very proud because I used all of my sourdough starter and no yeast.


It was a thing of beauty. So when you see "Sourpuss Babbka Brand" you know it is good. I won't use Ghee next time. I promise.


Babbka Queen Sourdough Cinnamon Delight


1/2 C. water
2C Sourdough starter (I used this srecipe 3 years ago to start)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla
2 drops almond extract
1 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 C. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/3 C. Milk
1 C. unsalted butter or margarine - softened and cut into small pieces
5 C. unbleached all-purpose flour or half bread flour/half all-purpose

Cinnamon Filling:

3/4 C. unsalted butter or margarine
1 C. dark brown sugar
2 T. maple syrup
4 tsp. cinnamon
1 C. chopped walnuts (optional)

Egg Wash:

1 egg, beaten
Sugar for sprinkling


1. Measure out sourdough starter and put in bowl.

2. Add eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, almond extract, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and milk.

3. Add the softened butter and flour to the mixture by folding it into the batter. Knead with a dough hook or by hand for about 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

4. Place dough in a well greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or cover the entire bowl with a plastic bag to ensure that it's thoroughly sealed. Allow to rise for about 45-90 minutes. (You can refrigerate this dough overnight, but you must allow it to return to room temperature before continuing.)

5. Divide dough into two equal parts. Cover with a towel and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

6. Butter two 9-inch springform cake pans or two loaf pans, or, if making only one large babka, butter a 10-inch bundt pan.

7. Roll dough into a 16x16 inch square on a lightly floured board.

8. Spread the filling over the entire surface.

9. Roll lengthwise into a large roll, then cut in half.

10. Place both halves in the prepared pan, beside each other (it doesn't matter if they are pressing against each other).

11. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

12. Place the pan(s) in a plastic bag and let rise until babbka has come up to the top of the pan.

13. Repeat with other half of the dough.

14. Preheat over to 350 F.

15. Bake babka for 35-40 minutes (50-70 minutes for the one large babka) until medium brown.

16. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan before putting on a cooling rack.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cranberry Horseradish and a Vegan Dish. Yes Vegan


I know that it sounds gross. Yes, I know. The fact of the matter is that I always make this and it really is because it is so good on the leftover turkey. I got the recipe years ago and it is still one of my favorites.

Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish

2 cups whole raw cranberries, washed

1 small onion

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons horseradish from a jar ("red is a bit milder than white")

Grind the raw berries and onion together. ("I use an old-fashioned meat grinder," says Stamberg. "I'm sure there's a setting on the food processor that will give you a chunky grind -- not a puree.")

Add everything else and mix.

Put in a plastic container and freeze.

Early Thanksgiving morning, move it from freezer to refrigerator compartment to thaw. ("It should still have some little icy slivers left.")

The relish will be thick, creamy, and shocking pink. ("OK, Pepto Bismol pink. It has a tangy taste that cuts through and perks up the turkey and gravy. It’s also good on next-day turkey sandwiches, and with roast beef.")

Makes 1 1/2 pints.

So the picture above is Lily my Saint Bernard that is no longer with us. She used to speak her mind. Not like Dakota who keeps pretty quiet but is sneaky.

What? You want another great Thanksgiving recipe? Ok. Ok! I can't believe that I am saying this but this is a Vegan recipe that I made for a friend that joined us one Thanksgiving. It was so good that I ate this and pretty much snubbed the turkey.


Vegetable tarte tatin
The Ultimate Book of Vegan Cooking
Tony and Yvonne Bishop-Weston

2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 eggplant sliced lengthways
1 lrg red bell pepper seeded and cut into long strips
10 tomatoes
2 red shallots, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves crushed
2/3 C white wine
2 tsp fresh basil (I used Herbes de Provence) because I didn't have basil
2 C cooked brown long grain rice
1/3 C pitted black olives (I didn't use these because they didn't seem to go)
12 oz Vegan puff pastry (I bought already made and it was fine)
ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Heat the sunflower oil with 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant slices, in batches if necessary, for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. As each slice softens and browns, lift it out and drain on several sheets of paper towel to remove as much oil as possible.

2. Add the pepper strips to the oil remaining in the pan, turning them to coat. Cover the pan wit a lid or foil and sweat the peppers over a medium high heat for 5 to 6 minutes., stirring occasionally, until the pepper strips are soft and flecked with brown.

3. Slice two of the tomatoes using a sharp knife and set aside.

4. Plunge the remaining tomatoes into boling water for 30 seconds, then drain. Peel off the skins, cut them into quarters and remove the core and seeds. Chop them roughly.

5. Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan and fry the shallots and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until softened.

6. Stir in the white wine and the fresh basil (or whatever herbs you like), with black pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove from the heat and stir in the cooked rice and olives, making sure they are well distributed.

7. Arrange the tomato slices, cooked eggplant slices and peppers in a single layer over the base of a heavy, 12" shallow ovenproof dish. Spread the rice mixture on top.

8. Roll out the puff pastry to a circle slightly larger than the diameter of the dish and place it on top of the rice. Tuck the edges of the pastry circle down inside the dish.

9. Bake the tatin for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden an risen. Leave to cool slightly, then invert the tart on to a large, warmed serving plate.

So that is it. Both these recipes are really worth making.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween, Snow, and Paula Wolfert Short Ribs


It all started with me being sorta festive. We didn't decorate this Halloween which is weird for us. We have an arsenal of spooky. So, I decided to get my spook on and cook. Dr. Food was in on it with me.


So I got the new Paula Wolfert Cookbook The Food of Morocco I know I say this all the time but I love Paula. I want to be Paula. Why do I love her so much? Well, I think it is because not only are her recipes amazing but she is a damn good writer. I am always interested to actually read what she says about food. I think that she makes people stretch their taste buds but not in a lambs brain kind of way.

Once again this recipe was pretty simple and so good. It is Short Ribs with Roasted Cauliflower


I don't think I ever have had roasted cauliflower. It is my new favorite.


See? I have a Tagine and everything but then I didn't have the diffuser. I didn't want the tagine to break so I didn't use it. I used a saucier that I have.


As far as *I* was concerned it made no difference. It was so good.


A little couscous with preserved lemon. I know I know. You don't serve couscous with a tagine because it is a whole dish in itself but this one was because I wanted it damnit. In case any of you haven't heard I live in New England and not Morocco (although I may as well live in Morocco as far as how far away my family is from me).


I was in ignorant bliss eating this. Little did I know that the next day would bring this:


Uh yeah. It is October. We got 8" of snow and then lost our power. So, to show what a good sport I was I cooked dinner in the dark.


Yes I am wearing two sweatshirts but I am being a trooper. I stopped being a trooper and stopped taking pictures of this dinner. It was Chicken and Chorizo and to tell you the truth I don't remember the rest of what happened. The cold got to my brain and I wasn't laughing anymore. We can all laugh at it now because the electricity is back.

You laugh for real and I will come punch you in the shoulder. It wasn't fun or funny. I still have residual grumpiness.

Beef Tagine with Cauliflower
Paula Wolfert

Coarse salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 pounds beef short ribs or 2 pounds bone-in beef shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1- to l!4-inch chunks
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cumin, preferably Moroccan
1 medium white or red onion, grated
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
One 2-pound cauliflower
Pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne, or to taste
12 ounces Roma (plum) tomatoes, peeled, halved, seeded, and chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon

NOTE: I used a Saucier instead of a tagine because I didn't have a diffuser for the tagine that I DO have.

Heat a tagine, preferably flameware, set on a heat diffuser over medium-low heat until warm. Mix 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and turmeric with 1-1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil and add to the warm pan.

Add the beef and saute gently until golden on all sides. Place a crumpled piece of parchment directly over the meat, cover tightly, and cook for 15 minutes, without lifting the cover. (The meat will cook in its own juices, drawn out by the salt over low heat; do not add water.)

Add the paprika, ginger, cumin, grated onion, half of the herbs, and lli cup water. Cover again with the parchment paper and the lid, and simmer gently for 3 hours, until the meat is very tender and has fallen off the bones.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Cut the cauliflower in half, then cut each half lengthwise into ½ inch-thick slices. Lightly brush a jelly-roll pan with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Mix the remaining 'A tablespoon oil with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes and gently toss with the cauliflower. Spread the cauliflower out in one layer on the pan and roast for 15 minutes. Use a spatula to turn the slices over and roast for another 15 minutes, or until lightly caramelized. Remove from the oven, cover loosely with paper towels or a kitchen towel, and set aside.

Remove the meat from the tagine and remove and discard the bones. Return the meat to the tagine and lightly brown in the fatty juices. Tilt the pan and spoon off and discard the excess fat. If necessary, add a few tablespoons water to make a smooth sauce.

Scatter the cauliflower, tomatoes, and the remaining chopped herbs over the beef. Bring to a boil to reheat. Correct the seasoning with salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and the lemon juice, and serve at once.