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Archive for August, 2011

Baked ham, mushroom, swiss crepes

I made crepes today! I thought it was going to be a total disaster after my first two, but then I switched to my little 6 inch skillet. I read up on my technique, and thought I knew exactly what to do, but if your skillet isn’t non-stick, it’s not gonna work. I used almost 3 tbsp of batter for each crepe. I heated up the skillet to medium high and brushed it with melted butter. Then I poured the crepe batter with the skillet at an angle. I aimed for the far right quadrant and swirled the batter counterclockwise. The crepe recipe and technique are from Cook’s Illustrated via Cookography. My batter made 11 or 12 crepes after my first two 9 inch ones that ended up in the garbage.

I made creamed mushrooms as the filling, using a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I subbed some 2% milk for some of the cream to save a few cals, and used an entire yellow onion and probably 2/3 lb of mushrooms. I added thyme and they were absolutely delicious.

The actual idea for baking crepes came from Taste and Tell. I used her bechamel recipe (cutting back on some of the cream and using milk) and added S&P. I ended up adding more milk to the bechamel when it was time to assemble because it had thickened a little too much. I used black forest ham and put a little swiss inside the crepes. I filled and topped the crepes with some green onions as well. I baked as instructed, but broiled at the end to brown the cheese. Making this was a lot of fun and very good, too!

CREPES

From: Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for brushing pan

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients in food processor or blender until a smooth batter is formed, 3 to 4 seconds.
  2. If you want to make a very tender crepe, transfer the batter to a covered container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You can leave the batter in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When you are ready to begin cooking, gently stir batter if the ingredients have separated.
  3. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the pan bottom and sides very lightly with the extra melted butter. The butter should sizzle when it hits the pan. When the butter stops sizzling, pour the batter into the pan. For a 6 or 7 inch pan, use 2 1/2 tablespoons of batter (fill a 1/4 cup measuring cup just over half way). For a 10 inch pan, use a full 1/4 cup of batter.
  4. When pouring the batter, tilt the pan down and slightly to the right. Tilt the pan slowly, in counterclockwise motion, until a thin even crepe is formed. Cook until the bottom is spotty brown, loosening the crepe from the pan side with a table knife or rubber spatula to check for doneness. This should take 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip the loosened crepe quickly with fingertips or spatula and cook until spotty brown on other side, about 30 seconds longer.
  5. Place cooked crepe on plate and repeat cooking process with remaining batter, brushing pan as necessary, every two to three crepes.

Note:

Crepes can be double-wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Creamed Mushrooms on Chive Butter Toast
Adapted from Melissa Clark, New York Times, 5/16/07

Clark originally crafted this recipe for morels, but the fact that they’re out of season now was really a boon as I realized, not even for the first time, that when you cook mushrooms well, even simple brown ones will taste like luxury. I used a mix of shiitakes and creminis, but you could easily just use creminis. They’ll still taste like they should be served from an ornate glass bowl with a delicate silver spoon.

1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, or a mix of wild mushrooms such as morels, shiitakes, oysters or chanterellas
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, more for toast
1 large or 2 small shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons dry white wine or white vermouth
1/4 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Slices brioche or good white bread, crusts cut off if desired
1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
Coarse sea salt such as fleur de sel or Maldon, for garnish

Clean excess dirt from mushrooms. Slice mushrooms in half lengthwise and brush away any grit; chop into 1/4-inch pieces.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until very limp, about three minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, for about five minutes. Add wine, reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for about five minutes more. (There are a lot of “abouts” on the cooking times because I found that mine took less time at each step; however, I also may have chopped my mushrooms and shallots smaller than the recommended size.)

Uncover pot and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about two minutes. Stir in cream; simmer until slightly thickened, two minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toast bread and spread with butter. (Clark recommended four slices of brioche, to make eight toasts, but I had enough mushrooms for almost triple that.) Cut each slice in half diagonally and sprinkle lightly with chives. Top each toast triangle with some mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with additional chives, garnish with sea salt, and serve.

Other uses for these mushrooms: I’d imagine they’d make a wonderful simple pasta sauce or, of course, something delicious to prop a poached egg upon, toast and all.

Ham and Mushroom Crepes

serves 6-8

total time: about 45 minutes

for the crepes
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
pinch of salt
butter, for the pan

for the filling
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons flour, divided
1 cup cream, divided
1/2 cup milk
freshly grated nutmeg
12 slices of ham

1 cup grated Gruyere or Swiss
parsley

Whisk together the eggs, milk, flour and salt. Set aside for at least 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a 6″ to 7″ non-stick skillet, heat a small amount of the butter. Add 2 tablespoons of the crepe batter and tip the pan around to cover the bottom. It will be thin. Let it cook until it is lightly browned, then flip over to cook the second side. Repeat, making a total of 12 crepes.

Make the filling: In a saute pan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over the mushrooms and stir to coat. Cook for 1 minute, then add in 1/2 cup of the cream. Cook until thickened.

In a saucepan, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon flour and cook for a minute or two. Whisk in remaining 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk. Grate in a small amount of nutmeg. Cook until thickened.

Assemble crepes: Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Put a piece of ham on each crepe. Top with the mushroom mixture. Roll each crepe and place, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Top with the sauce, and sprinkle with the cheese. Cook in the preheated oven until heated through and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

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Corn with bacon butter and feta cheese

I adapted a recipe from How Sweet Eats. It was originally called Grilled Corn with Bacon Butter and Cojita Cheese. I boiled the corn my favorite way. I add 1 tbsp vinegar and 1 tbsp sugar to boiling water, then add corn with the husks. I cover the pot and take it off the heat. After 10 minutes, the corn is ready to eat. It can stay in the water for an additional 10 minutes if needed. I cooked 1 slice of bacon and mixed with 2 tbsp softened butter. I also added pepper and chopped parsley. I rubbed the corn with the butter and sprinkled feta on top. It was a really good combination of flavors, but it’s hard to keep everything on the cob while eating. Next time, I might cut the kernels off and mix the toppings and corn all together. Another good addition would be a squeeze of lime or some lime zest. It would also taste awesome with blue cheese.

 

Ingredients

  • 6 ears Of Corn
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 2 slices Bacon, Fried And Crumbled Into Very Tiny Pieces
  • 4 ounces, weight Cotjia Cheese, Crumbled
  • ¼ cups Fresh Cilantro For Garnish

Preparation Instructions

Preheat your grill to the highest setting. Shuck corn ears and brush each with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper. Wrap each in a square of aluminum foil, just so there is one layer covering the corn. Grill for about 5 minutes each “side”—rotating corn 4-5 times during grilling—for a total of about 25-30 minutes. While grilling corn, combine softened butter with crumbled bacon. Crumble cotija cheese on a large plate.

Once corn is finished, let sit for about 5 minutes to cool a bit before serving. The corn will still be very hot. Serve with a brush for the bacon butter, the plate of cotija to roll the corn in, and a bunch of fresh cilantro for garnish.

Note: there are so many ways to grill corn and this is what we have found to work best for us. Feel free to grill your corn another way if you’d like. Also, if you can’t find cotija cheese I’m sure you could substitute feta or blue cheese—something that crumbles.

Smores cheesecake

I wanted to make a fun, big dessert for my dad’s birthday party, and I’ve recently been obsessed with smores. So this Smore’s Cheesecake seemed perfect. Plus, I could let my dad torch the top, which was absolutely necessary and probably my favorite part. I made 1 1/2 times the crust, and I freaked out a little when the butter leaked out of my (crappy) springform pan. Luckily, it didn’t seem to cause a problem. The crust stayed together when I cut into the cheesecake, and the texture and taste were just fine. My cheesecake cracked a little on top and sunk in, but it looked just like the picture so I didn’t worry. It was a perfect dessert, and everybody really liked it.

S’mores Cheesecake (Tracy’s Culinary Adventures)
from Bon Appetit, July 2008 (via Epicurious.com)

Crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9-10 whole crackers)
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling
9 oz milk chocolate, chopped
2 8-oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
3 large egg, at room temperature

Topping
1 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
12 large marshmallows, cut into quarters with wet kitchen scissors
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the crust:  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and sugar.  Pour the melted butter over the mixture and stir until the crumbs are evenly moistened.  Press into an even layer in the bottom of the prepared springform pan.  Bake for 12 minutes, or until set.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 F.

To make the filling:  Add the chocolate to a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals at 50% power, stirring in between each interval, until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Cool until just barely lukewarm, stirring occasionally.

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, and salt in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until smooth. With the machine running, pour the heavy cream through feed tube and process just until blended. Again, with the machine running, add the melted chocolate and then the eggs, one at a time, blending and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition until the mixture is smooth.  Pour the batter over the cooled crust.

Bake for about 55 minutes, or until the outer edge is slightly puffed and the center is barely set (the center will jiggle slightly when the pan is gently shaken).  Transfer the pan to a wire rack.  Run a small sharp knife around the cake to loosen it from the pan.  Let cool slightly then refrigerate for at least 8 hours.  (I left mine uncovered in the fridge until it was cold, then used plastic wrap to cover the pan.)

To make the topping:  In a large metal bowl (I used the bowl for my stand mixer), combine the sugar, egg whites, water, cream of tartar and salt.  Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.  Remove the bowl from the pan and add the marshmallows; let stand for a few minutes until the marshmallows soften.  Place the bowl back over the pan of simmering water and beat the topping with a hand mixer for 4-5 minutes, or until stiff, shiny peaks form.  Beat in the vanilla.

Let the topping cool just slightly (don’t wait too long or it’ll set and you won’t be able to spread it).  Meanwhile, remove the sides of the pan from the cheesecake.  Transfer the topping onto the cheesecake; use a spatula to spread it to the edges.  Let stand for about 15 minutes, or until set.  Use a kitchen torch to toast the topping lightly.  (You could also do this under your broiler but keep a VERY close eye on it, it’ll go from brown to burnt quickly.)  Transfer the cheesecake to the fridge and chill well before serving.

Wedge salad with blue cheese dressing

I am loving blue cheese right now, and we have a ton of bacon, so wedge salad sounded like a great idea! My dressing was good, especially after half a day in the fridge, but I regretted the squeeze of lemon I added. I’ll stick to vinegar and buttermilk only for my acid. Lemon in blue cheese dressing and even ranch just doesn’t work for me. I also added sugar and it probably didn’t need that either. I added green onions, tomatoes, and bacon to my salad. I would have added hard boiled egg but didn’t get around to it. I used a bunch of recipes but here is what I would do next time.

Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • Splash white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp worschestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced onion (didn’t have any onion flavor the first time)
  • Salt and lots of pepper
  • Sugar if needed
  • Blue cheese

 

 

Zucchini cakes

I’ve made zucchini patties before, with mozzarella as part of the mix and served with marinara. These zucchini cakes had parmesan instead, and lots of panko. These were pretty bread crumb heavy, but I purposely did that so they would hold together and make a perfect patty shape. This recipe is from Life’s Ambrosia. I also referred to Pioneer Woman’s Zucchini Cake recipe for good pointers and pictures.

Zucchini Cakes

Makes: 8 cakes

You will need:

  • 1 large zucchni grated, excess water removed (Note: To do this, after you grate the zucchini, put the grated zucchini into paper towels and squeeze to release the water)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • sprinkle of ground nutmeg, about 1/8 teaspoon (Note: If you add too much it can quickly take over the taste, less is more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Combine all ingredients, except olive oil, in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Using a heaping tablespoon form the mixture into 8 patties.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Once heated, add patties and cook until golden brown. About 3-4 minutes per side. Serve.

These are great when served with a dollop of  ranch dressing.

Zucchini chocolate chip muffins

I searched all over for the perfect zucchini chocolate chip muffin recipe, and eventually settled on one from King Arthur flour. Zucchini muffin/bread recipes are very similar all across the internet. I used 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 white sugar, and I liked the use of baking powder and baking soda. The muffins baked up nice and round, had a mediumly dense texture, and tasted really good. I sprinkled the top with my big sugar and added chocolate chips. I didn’t used dried fruit or nuts. I substituted half of the oil for homemade applesauce, yum.

I was very proud of my muffins, and Jacob really liked them. Little did I know that I’ve basically made these before! I made a zucchini bread from My Sister’s Cafe that had everything in it that I liked about the version I just made. One note on the baking time – if the oven is too hot, the sides will bake faster and the muffin will have a bubble in the middle instead of a perfectly rounded top. Err on the oven temp being a little less than 375. I didn’t use muffin liners.

The Shipyard Galley’s Zucchini Muffins

Half of the recipe gave me 12 (228 calories using half applesauce)

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups grated or finely chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 to 1 cup raisins or currants

Directions:

1) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line muffin tin(s) with papers, or grease each cup. Since this recipe makes 24 to 27 muffins, you’ll use at least two tins; or simply bake as many as you want, and refrigerate the remaining batter, to use up to 4 days later.

2) Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla till smooth and somewhat lightened in color, about 1 minute at high speed.

3) Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, beating to combine.

4) Add the flour, beating just till smooth.

5) Add the zucchini, nuts, and raisins or currants.

6) Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full.

7) Bake the muffins for 25 to 27 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Remove them from the oven, and after a minute or so gently tilt them in the pans, so their bottoms don’t become soggy. As soon as you can handle the muffins, transfer them to a rack to cool.

 

Chicken stuffed with brie, caramelized onions, and proscuitto

I’ve stuffed stuffed and pork before, with mixed results. The filling always rocks but the surrounding meat lacks flavor and attention. Not today! I buttermilk brined my chicken after cutting slits for the filling to be added later. I dried off the breasts and stuffed with my fillings, which included brie cheese, caramelized onions, chopped thinly sliced proscuitto, and some fresh thyme leaves. I closed the pocket with toothpicks and sauteed in a hot oiled skillet. It took 10 or so minutes for both sides to brown nicely, then I finished the breasts in the oven. I wanted to bake at 350, but since my carrots were roasting at 425, I compromised and lowered the temp some. I placed the chicken in a new dish and covered with foil. It only took a couple of minutes for the chicken to get to 160. The carrot recipe I used was from one of my Cook’s Illustrated magazines and it was delicious. I added thyme but there are a ton of other additions I could think of. In the skillet I cooked the chicken in, I sauteed a little garlic in some butter and tossed in some leftover caramelized onions. I added a little bit of flour and whisked for a little bit to cook down the flour. I then deglazed with 1/4 – 1/3 cup white wine then added 3/4 of a cup of chicken stock. I increased the heat, got the sauce bubbling, then reduced to a simmer. The sauce thickened nicely but the salt was a little aggressive. I got ambitious and stirred in a couple of tablespoons of apricot jam to give it some sweetness. I really liked the addition but Jacob thought it was a little too sweet for a gravy. Luckily, I fried up some leftover diced proscuitto for a topping to the chicken. Overall, the chicken and filling was really yummy and juicy. A little too salty overall, due to the brined chicken, prosciutto, and gravy all generously seasoned. The brie cheese got a little lost and I wanted more! I would simply melt the cheese on top next time. A layered dish of chicken (coated in flour to protect the skinless breasts), topping of cheese, onions, and proscuitto, smothered in gravy would be perfect. Thighs with the bone and skin might be a good idea as well.

There is no recipe, because I pulled from all over the internet and made up some things myself.