Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cheese and Onion Bread but it didn't make me feel better

I have a cold that has been going on for a few weeks. Nothing big but between painting my living room and having this cold I feel like crap. Enough about me...

I didn't want to just sit here so I found an "easy" bread recipe. Note to self: No bread recipe is EASY.


Starts of with making the dough into little balls and stacking them up in a tin.


Comes out cheesy


I taste tested it and I thought it was ok. Dr Food really liked it. He even exclaimed loudly "Cheeeesy"

Cheese and Onion Loaf
Adapted from "The Complete Book of Bread & Bread Machines"
Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter

1 onion finely chopped
3 1/2 Tbl butter
4 C unbleached white bread flour
1/4 oz rapid rise dried yeast
1 tsp mustard powder
1 1/2 C grated sharp cheddar (I used about 2 1/2-3 cups)
2/3 C lukewarm milk
2/3 C lukewarm water
salt and ground black pepper

1. Lightly grease a loaf pan (10 x 4). Melt 2 Tbl of the butter in a heavy frying pan and saute the onion until it is soft and light golden. Set aside to cool.

2. Sift the flour into a large bowl and stir in the yeast, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir i three-quarters of the grated cheese and the onion. Make a well in the center. Add the milk and water; blend to a soft dough. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap and leave in a warm place, for about 45-60 minutes, until doubled in size.

4. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface, knock back, and knead gently. Divide into 20 equal pieces and shape into small rounds. Place half in the prepared tin and brush with some melted butter. Top with the remaining rounds of dough and brush with the remaining butter.

5. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and leace to rise for 45 minutes, until the dough reaches the top of the tin. Meanwhile preheat the over to 375 degrees.

6. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until risen and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy the cheesy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Anniversary Harvest Dinner to Beat Hunger


I always try to find some place new to take Dr Food for his birthday. This year I found Sel De La Terre was having their one year anniversary Harvest dinner and the proceeds went to "Share Our Strength-No Kid Hungry". The dinner was cooked by 7 Top Boston chefs, and tops they were!

The evening started out with signature cocktails by local mixologists Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli and Kevin Martin. The Hors D'Oeuvres were by Chef Louis DiViccari, Sel de la Terre-Back Bay

First cocktail that we had was called 1771-Citadel gin, cardamom, orange, lime and sparkling wine


This is the second drink and it was called Fall River- Bols genever, ginger syrup and Regan's orange bitters. I love love love that genever!

Hors D'oeuvres were :
Fois gras torchon with concord grape gelee, sweet cracker
Arancini with gouda, sage and apple
Lobster consomme with capellini, lobster and baby bok choy
Roasted poussin with confit almond and dried cranberries

I didn't get pictures but after the second drink and a dark room this is what I saw:


Along the way we met two really nice people that we ended up eating with. Me being me I can't remember names, but take my word for it they had names and they were really nice.

Onto dinner...


I think this was one of my favorites. I am a pushover for good presentation. It also tasted wonderful.

First course
Chef Jamie Bissonnette
Toro, & Coppa

Oyster vichyssoise with lardo, uni and nasturtium flowers
wine: Gran Gesta, Brut Reserve Cava


Second course
Chef Dante deMagistris
Dante & il Casale

Grilled lambs tongue, guanciale, buckweat orzotto, porcini crema, grappa grapes
Wine: Albino Armani, Soave Incontro 2007


Pasta course
Chef Tony Susi

Cavatelli, Braised Pork Shoulder Ragu & Fresh Ricotta
Wine: Domaine des Terres Falmet, Cinsault 2008


backstory on this one is that I ate it before I got a picture. Being the gutsy blogger that I am I told the waiter my problem. I asked if he could go in the kitchen and get a picture of this course. He did better and brought me a plated and warm new serving so that I could take a picture. And because he was THAT nice he even wrapped it up for me to take home to eat the next day (waving at waiter.... "Thanks for everything, you are the BEST")


Fish course
Chef Colin Lynch
Barbara Lynch Gruppo

Halibut en Croute, Ratatouille, Olive and Basil Salad
Wine: Espelt, Emporda, Rosado 2008


Meat course
Chef Will Gilson
Garden at the Cellar

Pork tenderloin "pot au feu" with farmers market vegetables and maple-madiera jus
Wine: Il Cerreto, Colli Toscana Centrale 2006

and last but not least


Chef Jiho Kim

Soft chocolate, Cremeux au vanilla, olive oil and almond cake; squash ice cream

It was a fantastic dinner and we had a great time. There was an auction but we couldn't afford any of the stuff. Damn, could hardly afford the dinner itself.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Our version of Surf and Turf weekend

We didn't have much to do and we were bored so what did we decide to do? Well, we decided to go to the fancy butcher in Wellesley and then the fancy fish store next to the fancy butcher. We ended up with sweetbreads, fois gras and some killer scallops. Ok, now it is time to go home and cook!

First off we started with the fois gras.


Who would have thunk that a piece that small would be 20.00? So we just decided to pan sear it and leave it at that. I made Mr Food do this since I could just see me getting distracted (which I have a tendency to do if I don't like the song on my iPod that is playing and I was sorta drinking a Manhattan)



I didn't like the fois gras because I just am finding out that I don't like fois gras. Dr Food said that it was killer.


Next were the sweetbreads. If you don't know what they are you can look here. Ooooh they were good. Don't knock it unless you have tried it.


This recipe is great!

Then there were the scallops on a bed of gingered leeks



The scallops were MY favorite


So tonight is a dinner in Boston that is 7 courses by 7 famous chefs from the Boston area. Proceeds go to "Share Our Strength". I bought the dinner for Dr Food's birthday dinner.

We will start the diet tomorrow.

Sea Scallops with Fresh Ginger
from "The Complete Robuchon

1 1/2 Tbl butter
2 leeks, whites washed well in warm water and cut into sticks 2" long, 2 green leek leaves washed and sliced into strips
White pepper
1 1/2 ounce peeled fresh gingerroot
5 shallots, peeled and minced
1/2 C dry vermouth
1 bouquet garn (2 sprigs thyme, 5 stems parsley, and 5 celery leaves, wrapped and tied in a green leek leaf)
2C creme fraiche
8 large shucked sea scallops
1 tsp neutral oil

Melt 1/2 tbl butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the leek whites and cook for 3 minuts, stirring with a wooden spoon; do not allow them to color. Season with pinches of salt and 1 pinch of pepper and set aside.

Cut away one-fourth of the ginger, Peel this small piece and slice it into filaments 1/8 inch thick. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil the shredded ginger for 1 minute and then rinse under cold runing water for 30 seconds. Drain and set aside. Rinse the saucepan.

Melt 1/2 tbl butter in a small saucepan over low heat. When it foams, cook the the shallots for 3 minutes over low heat, stirring; do not allow them to olor. Add the leek greens and cook 2 minutes more.k Add the vermouth, bouquet garni, and the remaining chunk of ginger. Cook 3 minutes more. Add the creme fraiche, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer them for 10 minutes. Pass through a fine strainer into the other small saucepan and stir in 1/2 tlb butter. Season with a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper and stir in the blanched ginger strips.

Spread the leeks on a platter and cover with ginger sauce.

Rinse and dry scallop meat. Place the scallops on a work surface. Cut each scallop in 2 horizontally (WE DID NOT DO THIS).
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Sear the scallop for 1 minute on each side. Season with a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper and arrange on top of the leeks.

So, if you also want the sweetbread recipe you can email me. I am not posting it because I don't think that many people will really want to try it. They were incredible though.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

No chew zone


I had some dental work done and it entailed knocking me around a bit. Mouth is sore and I am a bit loopy from the Vicodin. So what do I decide to do? I decide to cook lamb shanks. Why? I find comfort in cooking and I figure that these will be cooked so long that they will fall off the bone and I won't have to chew that much. I was right. OHMYGOD, these were incredible. It is my new favorite recipe.


Of course it doesn't hurt that I started off with amazing lamb. I have the whole lamb in my freezer (in parts) but today I decided on lamb shanks.


Vegetables are a good thing.


The recipe also calls for a Gremolata I got the parsley out of the last bit of garden that is left. So, the lamb is pretty local, the parsley was very local, but the lemon...

Not so local

Not so local. I swear that I am going to have to do something about the lemon situation. When I was at Sooke Harbor House in Vancouver I asked what they did for lemons. This place only cooks with what they grow or very local. They told me that they used lemon geraniums. I can't even do that in the winter. I can't do without lemons so I don't know what to do about it. Ok, I am rambling....

Lamb shanks

and Voila! I love love love this recipe.

Lamb Shanks with Butternut Squash Recipe
Recipe from Elise Bauer Simply Recipes

6 Tbsp olive oil
4 Lamb shanks (1 lb each)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cloves separated from an entire head of garlic, unpeeled
6 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
4 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup tomato paste
3 cups dry red wine
6 cups chicken stock
Two 1x3-inch strips of orange zest
3 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
4 Tbsp chopped parsley
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 1/3 cups cooked cannellini beans

Heat 4 Tbsp of olive oil in a large cast-iron enameled casserole. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper, add them to the casserole and brown well on all sides, working in batches if necessary, about 8 minutes. Transfer the shanks to a plate.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and arrange two racks in the oven, one to hold the casserole and one to hold a baking sheet with the squash. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves, celery, carrots and onion to the casserole. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until glossy, about 2 minutes. Add the wine; boil over high heat until the liquid is very syrupy, about 15 minutes.

Return the shanks to the casserole and add the stock and orange zest. Bring to a simmer. Cover the casserole and braise the shanks in the oven for about 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender (when we cooked this dish it took 3 hours); turn the shanks from time to time as they cook.

Meanwhile, on a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven (along with the lamb) for about an hour, or until tender.

In a small bowl, mix the minced garlic with the parsley and lemon zest (the "gremolata"). Set aside.

Remove the shanks from the oven and transfer to a plate. Pass the sauce through a coarse strainer, pressing hard on the vegetables. Discard the vegetable pulp. Skim the fat from the surface of the sauce.

Return the sauce to the casserole, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Add the lamb shanks and squash; simmer just until warmed through. Add the cannellini beans, cover and remove from heat. Let stand for a few minutes to allow for the flavors to blend.

Spoon the vegetables and sauce into large shallow bowls and set the lamb shanks on top. Garnish with the gremolata and serve.

Serves 4 (or up to 6 if you remove the bones from the shanks before serving).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Win some lose some


I have been wanting to experiment with Spherification. I chose yesterday to do this. Bad idea. Coming down with a cold and not really into it. So, I found some ingredients that I wanted to try. I wanted to try to make this "caviar" to put on salmon. It was cilantro, limes, and a splash of tequila. Having not researched enough I didn't know that the acidity had an effect.

Then, I tried Maraschino cherry juice so that I could make cherry caviar to put in a Manhattan (yes, I gave you the recipe before). It was going to be the "Manhattan Project" and I was going to have a taste off between these little goodies and the spiced cherries (recipe at the bottom of the post) that I made. I will just have to wait for Dr Food to help me. I think that I need my chemist to take me down this road.


So what do I do when nothing feels good? I make chicken. You can never screw up a chicken. Good idea! This came out fantastic and it was really minimal work which left me time to pass out on the bed.


Dynamite Chicken
"The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook" recipe by Jacqueline McMahan

1 chicken (about 3.5lbs)
1/2 C cilantro leaves
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground chile, such as New Mexico Dixon (I used Ancho)
3/4 C Salsa (chunky bottled salsa may be used) I used fresh that I bought. Don't use the stuff that tends to be sweet that is in a jar.
1/2 C mexican beer

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a Dutch oven with oil
Rinse the chicken, remove the innards and cut off any large pieces of fat or skin about the vent. Blot the chicken dry with paper towels.
Combine the cilantro, garlic, salt and ground chili in a food processor. Chop to a course puree. Rub 1 tablespoon of the mixture inside the chicken. Gently work your fingers under the skin of the breast to loosen it, then rub more of the mixture under the skin over the breast. Rub the remaining mixture over the outside of the bird. Place the chicken breast up in the Dutch oven. Pour 1/4 of the salsa into the cavity of the chicken, then pour the remaining salsa over the bird. Add the beer to the pan, cover and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and roast 10 to 15 minutes longer, basting the chicken with the pan juices a couple of times.

You will like it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Because I haven't been in the mood to be Ms. Fancy Pants


Irish Beef Stew. Yes, stew. I got this recipe from Laurel. She is part Irish and THAT counts. Wasn't it your Irish Aunt Jo's recipe Laurel? Well, that is MY story and I am sticking to it. This stew is awesome. I suggest that you make this recipe really soon. Is it fancy? nooooo. Does it have exotic stuff in it? nooooooo. S'ok to just be simple.


Irish Beef Stew

1 1/2 cups beef stock/beef broth
2 Tbl vegetable oil
2 pounds boneless stewing beef, cut into chunks and lightly dredged
2 to 3 onions, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small turnip
2 to 3 large baking potatoes, thickly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 Tbl worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat oil in large dutch oven. Cook beef in batches on all sides until all the meat is browned. Remove from pan.

In the same pan, alternate layers of meat, onions, carrots, turnips and potatoes. Add sugar and worcestershire sauce to broth and pour over stew ingredients. Plop in bay leaf, add salt and pepper to taste, cover tightly and cook at low heat until meat is tender (approximately 2 - 1/2 hours.)

Check pot occasionally and add more stock if necessary.

Monday, September 21, 2009

You missed me and you know it


I haven't been blogging for a few days because my pals where here visiting. Pals that have been pals for what seems like forever (20-something) years.

So instead of something fancy for dinner I cooked them a pot roast and some potato pancakes. Yeah, I am still into the comfort food thing.

Some say that I make the best potato pancakes every. I say "Bah" it is easy.


Here ya go (secret recipe)

Lots of potatoes (about 10 russets)
1 Onion grated
1 Egg
1 tbl flour
vegetable oil

Grate potatoes and cover with water for about 10 minutes. Squeeze out all the water (and I mean all the water). Add grated onion and the egg and flour. Mix well. Spoon out a glop of potato into pan and fry. Drain on paper towel


Ok, now you see why I don't write a cookbook? I swear I am a swell cook. Don't serve these to my friends if they come to your house because they think MINE are the best and I wouldn't want yours to be better than mine and wreck it for me.


Pot Roast (not my recipe by it is really the best one I have had from the first cookbook I ever got)
American Kitchen Culinary Arts Institute

Savory Pot Roast
3 to 4 lb Beef pot roast
3 tbl vegetable oil
2 tbl flour
2 tbl paprika
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
4 yellow onions sliced thin

Combine flour, paprika, salt and pepper in plastic bag. Add pot roast and shake to cover. Heat oil in dutch oven. Brown meat on all sides. Remove meat and add 1/2 onions. Return meat and add rest of onions. Simmer for 3 hours or until tender.


Oh yeah, I also made Kale


Clean Kale and saute it with garlic in olive oil.

My friends are a bit strange. That is why I love them. They wanted to go see the Lizzy Borden house in Fall River. We waited for them to come visit so that we could go see it with them.


Ok, this really does have to do with food because I knew you were all leaving me for other blogs so I took a picture of the KITCHEN in the Lizzy Borden house for you. LOOK!!!


Yeah, it was a recreation of what WAS there because um...she burned her dress in the real one and it broke or something made up like that.


We then went to Al Mac's diner. The diner was built in 1953 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.



What did I have?


It was Dr Food's birthday and Kim our sweet neighbor made an apple pie for him. She and Denis and the kids picked apples at the Farm just to make this pie. Yum!


While we were in Boston doing the damn Freedom trail (for the 100000 time because we love our friends and we could use the walk after eating too much all weekend) we ate lunch in the North End and we bought cookies and stuff at



and I LOVE marzipan and they have the best


So, this post is really disjointed and my brain feels like it is falling out of my head from too much sugar and sights but ya know I find less buzz going on when I leave for a few days. You all need to stick with me. Then again, I never believe that anyone is really reading this anyhow.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cooking Therapy


I have felt out of sorts for the last few days. I don't know any word for it other than homesick. I feel like I fit in fine here but there is always that little "something" missing. I love the people here but I have to say that they are so different than what I am used to and I can't put my finger on why. I am from Los Angeles and you would think that I was used to "tough". Tough really isn't the word I am thinking of but there is this edge that I don't have and I am not sure that I understand it around me.

Moving from San Francisco to Massachusetts should have been easy. I was getting away from everyone having a cause and having to be PERFECTLY politically correct. I found that I fit in more with that state of mind rather than a sort of the state of mind that I can't put my finger on. So I have felt sad and misunderstood and just generally feeling sorry for myself (I am allowed).

What do I do when I get this way? Cook. I cook things that remind me of where I came from and things that smell familiar and all of that. So, this morning I pulled out my recipe file from the cabinet. I have had this since the 70's when I got married (the first time). I was a cooking fool back then too. I was really young when I got married and my then husband and I were really into Cajun cooking. As the years went on it just kept morphing. I have to say that most of the recipes in this box are from back then but the one I pulled out this morning was from 1999 (which is when I started dating Dr. Food). I have NO idea where this came from or why I have it. It was out of a GQ magazine. I don't know if someone gave it to me or what.


I read the article for the first time today. It was about the writers socialist grandmother. I had one of those. I just felt that it was some kind of "roots" thing. The article reminded me of family (and I am already homesick so it doesn't take much) and that was good enough for me.


It is just a chocolate cake. I will let you know how it is. I made it for my pals that are going to be visiting me from Portland, Oregon.


Sometimes simple is good. I think that when I am homesick it is the simple that I am craving. That could just be because sometimes it is tiring trying to fit in to a new place and I miss the old place where being me was much easier. So when I am homesick I go do simple things. Today it was visiting a local farm to buy a vegetable for tonights dinner and some farm fresh eggs. I couldn't do this back home but it seems to make me feel better.

Farm fresh eggs


Chard and leeks from the farm


Coffee from the coffee roaster across the way from the farm


Utopian Chocolate Cake
4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
2C flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
2 C sugar
3 eggs
2 C buttermilk
4 tsp vanilla

Icing 1 box powdered sugar
1 Stick butter
1 tbl milk

Melt chocolate over very low flame. In a large bowl, combine flour; baking soda and salt and set aside. In a separat bowl, beat buttr and sugar until fluffy, then add eggs. Alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk, a third at a time. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. Pour into a 9 x 13 inch greased and floured cake pan. Bake at 3:50 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. ake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

For icing, beat ingredients in food processor until smooth, then frost cake.

FYI....*I* just realized I forgot the vanilla. Seems that this could be the last straw but I am just not going to allow it to be. I will let you know how the cake is. Guests just called and are on their way.