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Archive for July, 2011

Corn chowder

Summer isn’t going to last forever, and pretty soon I won’t be buying fresh corn anymore. However, I’ve served corn so many times recently so I looked for a new way to prepare it. I had just made a huge batch of homemade chicken stock, so corn chowder seemed perfect. The soup was nice and thin, not too fatty, and had a yummy corn taste. The potatoes were a nice addition but I didn’t need so many. I didn’t puree the soup or mash the potatoes or anything, but some recipes call for that. I might try a thicker, heartier (fattier) version in the winter, but this was a perfect summer soup! I garnished with green onions and the cooked bacon, but I think cheddar cheese would be an awesome topping. And crusty bread on the side. I used 1/2 of a jalapeno without the seeds and I could have handled a whole one. I combined a recipe from Pioneer Woman and the Neelys.

Corn Chowder

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 pieces thick-sliced bacon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small jalapeno, chopped seeds and ribs removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 large red potato, well scrubbed and small diced
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I used 1/2 cup cream and 1/4 cup milk and that worked well)
  • Kernels from 3 ears of corn
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf or thyme

Directions

In a big pot over medium heat, saute the bacon until crisp and browned and the fat is rendered. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel and reserve. There should be about 4 tablespoons of bacon grease in pan.

Add the onions to pan. Saute until tender and translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the jalapeno and garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the flour until thoroughly combined. Cook the flour until it reaches a slight blonde color, about 1 minute. Stir in the chicken stock and the potatoes and simmer mostly covered for 10 minutes; potatoes will become soft. Add the cream, corn, cayenne and bay leaf or thyme. Simmer for 15 more minutes. Pour into a serving bowl and garnishwith the reserved bacon, green onions, and cheddar cheese.

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Chocolate peanut butter torte

I definitely need 4 inch springform pans, because this made a loooooot of torte. It was really delicious, but so much. I ate it for four days, gave almost 1/2 of it to my family, and I still had a waste a tiny bit. As delicious as it was, I felt extremely guilty indulging because of the gross amount of calories. But it was well worth it! My crust was a little crumbly. I followed recommendations on increasing the crust portion from the original recipe. I used 30 Oreos and 5 tbsp of butter. Maybe I really needed that tiny extra bit of butter? I loved the espresso/cinnamon notes from the crunch portion. Every once in a while I’d get a bite that was a little much, but it was good to introduce new flavors with my chocolate and peanut butter. I made 3/4 of the filling because I figured I didn’t need the added height. It was creamy and light but steady and not too airy.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte
Ingredients:
For the crust:
32 Oreo cookies, finely processed into crumbs
5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt

For the crunch:
1 1/4 cups salted peanuts, finely chopped, divided (for the filling, crunch and topping)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. espresso powder
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of ground nutmeg

For the filling:
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (not natural)
2 tbsp. whole milk

For the topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Directions:
To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.  Combine the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl.  Toss with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs.  Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and sides of the springform pan.  Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.  Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling.

To make the crunch, in another small bowl combine 1/2 cup of the chopped peanuts, mini chocolate chips, sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Toss with a fork to mix and set aside.

To prepare the filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks.  Beat in 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks.  Scrape the cream into a separate bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Wipe out (do not wash) the mixer bowl, replace the whisk with the paddle attachment, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth.  Beat in the peanut butter, whole milk, and 1/4 cup of the chopped peanuts until well combined.

Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about 1/4 of the whipped cream just to lighten the mousse.  Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.  Scrape the mousse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.

To finish the torte, put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.  Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.  Bring the 1/2 cup of cream to a full boil.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and, working with a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and smooth.

Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing with a metal icing spatula.  Scatter the remaining peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, at least 20 minutes.  When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the springform pan.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Tacos de barbacoa

Flavors were really good in this recipe. I went ahead and added my forbidden ingredient – canned chipotle chiles – and luckily it didn’t ruin the dish like it has so many times before. The salsa mix smelled great and I even added the tiniest pinches of those random weird spices. I would leave out the cooking uncovered for a hour part, the meat dried out a little and was saved only by some random beef broth hiding in the fridge. Next time I would cook for 3 1/2 hours, take out the meat with some of the juices, and thicken the remaining juices into a thick sauce/glaze.

Update Oct 2011: I made this again, using 1/2 of  a 2 lb flat beef roast. I used the crock pot this time because I wanted to use the beef for taquitos. I used the same recipe for baked creamy chicken taquitoes that is all over the internet. I used a mix of cheddar and feta cheese, yum. Some of the taquitos accidentally found their way into some hot oil. Both ways are really good, you just have to decide if the extra calories are worth the better crisp and crunch.

Tacos de Barbacoa
Print this recipe

Total Prep and Cooking Time: 30 minutes to prep, 4 1/2 hours of cooking time
Yield: 15-20 servings (makes great leftovers!)

4 pounds chuck or rump roast
4 canned chipotle chiles, with sauce
2 jalapeño peppers, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup cider vinegar
juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (for cooking)
2/3 cup low-sodium chicken/beef/vegetable stock (plus more, if needed)
2 bay leaves
corn or small flour tortillas, warmed in the oven or on the stove
salsa, pico de gallo, cilantro, lime wedges, and/or queso blanco, for serving

1. In a food processor or blender, pulse together the chiles, peppers, garlic, vinegar, lime juice, cumin, oregano, and nutmeg until well blended. Set aside. You can make this ahead of time and store in your fridge for 24 hours until you are ready to cook (as I did).

2. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Trim your roast of any large chunks of fat (but don’t make it completely clean – some fat is good and makes for tender barbacoa). Cut the roast into 4-6 large hunks and rub all over with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy-bottomed, oven-proof pot, heat your tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the meat in batches, cooking until browned on all sides, about 8-10 minutes. Don’t add it all in at the same time, because this will steam the meat instead of searing it.

3. Pour the sauce over the meat and mix to coat well. Add in the stock and bay leaves, and keep the heat on high until the mixture comes to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cover the pot tightly with foil, then cover with the lid. This will ensure that you have a good seal on your pot, especially if you have one that has been warped by heat during other cooking endeavors, such as mine has. Put the pot in the oven and cook for 3 1/2 hours. After this time, take the pot out of the oven, stir everything, and place it back in the oven, uncovered, so that the liquid can evaporate a bit.

4. When the meat is cooked, remove it from the oven and skim any fat off of the liquid, if you can. Move the meat to a large cutting board or a large bowl, and pour the juices into another bowl. Place the meat back in the pot, and shred with two forks. Turn the heat on the stove up to medium, and cook the barbacoa a bit, to caramelize it, for about 8 minutes. When ready, add in some of the juices, about 1/4 cup at a time, until you have the level of liquid that you prefer. You can save the leftover juices to add back in if you plan to eat them as leftovers, or reduce it a bit for a sauce. Serve on warmed corn or flour tortillas and top with your favorite toppings, such as pico de gallo, onions, cilantro, queso blanco, or some other kind of salsa.

Cottage cheese dill bread

I was so proud of how well this sandwich bread rose. I’ve had issues with wimpy sandwich loaves, but I let the dough rise in a warm oven this time and it made a huuuuuge difference. It looked even taller than the blog’s version!  I actually combined two recipes, the first from One Perfect Bite and the second from Annie’s Eats. I used about 3 1/3 cups of bread flour. The bread sliced easily, didn’t crumble, and I was able to get about 15-16 slices. It was hearty and I didn’t directly taste cottage cheese, but it had a good weirdness to it. I used a sprinkle of dried dill that is a little old. I didn’t want a strong dill flavor but it’s there in the perfect, in the background, way.

Cottage Cheese Rolls… from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

Ingredients:
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1 cup (8 ounces) 4% cottage cheese
1 large egg
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:
1) Combine yeast and water in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
2) Heat cottage cheese in a small saucepan set over medium heat until it registers a temperature of 110 to 115 degrees F.
3) Add cottage cheese, egg, sugar, salt, baking soda and 1 cup flour to yeast mixture. Beat until perfectly smooth. Stir in remaining flour to form a firm dough (dough will be sticky).
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
4) Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into 15 pieces. Shape each piece into a roll. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
5) Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Yield: 15 rolls.

Cottage Cheese Dill Bread
Ingredients:
2 tbsp. instant yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 cup cottage cheese (full or reduced fat), at room temperature
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 heaping tbsp. fresh onion, finely minced
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh dill, minced
1 tbsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. olive oil
5 to 6 1/2 cups bread flour

Directions:
Combine the yeast and the water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and stir to dissolve the yeast.  Add all remaining ingredients except flour to the bowl and mix until a dough has formed.  Switch over to the dough hook and stir at low speed.  Add flour 1 cup at a time until you have a soft dough that clears the sides of the bowl.  Continue kneading on low speed for 5-6 minutes.  Transfer the dough ball to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place.  (I preheat my oven to 150 degrees F, turn it off as soon as it reaches this temp, and then put the dough in.)  Let rise until the dough has doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

When the dough has doubled, punch it down and shape into a log the size of a loaf pan.  Place into a lightly greased loaf pan and press down gently so that the dough touches all sides of the pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again in a warm place, 30-60 minutes.

When the loaf has risen, remove the plastic wrap and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake for 30 minutes, then cover with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning and bake another 15-20 minutes longer.  Let cool for 5 minutes and then remove from pan and cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

Swedish meatballs

These meatballs are not supposed to be as tender as Italian meatballs, and they should almost have a sausage like snap to them. This is because in the beginning, you whip a lot of air into the pork/spice mixture. These were really yummy, but I did decrease the spices a tiny bit just because I’m afraid of my meatballs tasting like pumpkin bread. The mixture is really sticky and wet, but it fries up nicely. I only got 22 meatballs, and that made 1 huge dinner for Jacob, 1 regular dinner for me, and lunch tomorrow. The sauce is killer, and I only needed 1/4 cup of cream. I served with raspberry jam instead of lingonberry. Definitely not traditional, but it was good! On the side I made the pickled cucumbers from the same issue of Cooks Illustrated. I decreased the sugar by a lot and added green onions, parsley and dill instead of allspice. I also made cottage cheese dill sandwich bread, which exceeded my expectations, yay!

Swedish Meatballs

Serves 4 (but really 3)

For the meatballs:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 slice white bread, crusts removed and bread torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 1 small onion, grated on large holes of box grater (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar, packed (see note)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 ounces 85% lean ground beef
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

For the sauce:

    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed (see note)
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed from 1 lemon
    • salt & fresh ground pepper

Change Measurements: US | Metric

Directions:

Prep Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 40 mins

  1. For the Meatballs: Whisk egg and cream together in medium bowl. Stir in bread and set aside. Meanwhile, in stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat pork, onion, nutmeg, allspice, pepper, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder on high speed until smooth and pale, about 2 minutes, scraping bowl as necessary. Using fork, mash bread mixture until no large dry bread chunks remain; add mixture to mixer bowl and beat on high speed until smooth and homogeneous, about 1 minute, scraping bowl as necessary. Add beef and mix on medium-low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping bowl as necessary. Using moistened hands, form generous tablespoon of meat mixture into 1-inch round meatball; repeat with remaining mixture to form 25 to 30 meatballs.
  2. Heat oil in 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat until edge of meatball dipped in oil sizzles (oil should register 350 degrees on instant-read thermometer), 3 to 5 minutes. Add meatballs in single layer and fry, flipping once halfway through cooking, until lightly browned all over and cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. (Adjust heat as needed to keep oil sizzling but not smoking.) Using slotted spoon, transfer browned meatballs to paper towel-lined plate.
  3. For the Sauce: Pour off and discard oil in pan, leaving any fond (browned bits) behind. Return pan to medium-high heat and add butter. When foaming subsides, add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until flour is light brown, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in broth, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits. Add brown sugar and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce is reduced to about 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream and return to simmer.
  4. Add meatballs to sauce and simmer, turning occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and serve.