Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Sometimes we are presented with these situations where a guest cannot or will not eat beef or fish and what do we do? All I can say is that a good hostess should be able to accommodate everyone's tastes, allergies etc. while at the same time not sacrifice the majority for a few. In this situation, since we are going to be cooking on the grill, it's not a big problem to throw a few chicken pieces on the grill for those who don't like meat and that is what i have done. Drummettes are easy for little kids to handle and they also make great appetizers for the adults. Serve them for the grownups while you are having cocktails and save a few for the kids while the others are having hamburgers. That way everyone gets what they were expecting and you come out looking like a princess. Problem solved!
Fourth of July Barbecue
Clam Dip with Potato Chips
Grilled Chicken Drummettes
Grilled Double Cheese Hamburgers with Vidalia & Horseradish Mustard
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Dill Butter
My Mother's Potato Salad
Beefsteak Tomatoes, with Balsamic Vinegar, Basil & Olive Oil
Peach Blueberry Crumble
Tinto de Verano
I am posting the menu early so you can start salivating and making plans! The recipes will be posted by tomorrow evening at the latest! The clam dip and Tinto de Verano have been previously posted on the blog. Just click on them or do a search on the Google box.
Just so you know, I will be making my brother's secret hamburger recipe with a new twist. If you are going to buy the hamburger meat early, get half ground sirloin and half ground chuck. That is part of the SECRET!!!
Yield 6 to 8 servings
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh gingerroot
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons sesame oil
12 skin-on chicken drummettes (about 3 1/2 pounds)
The cheese and the Vidalia Onions are Bobby Flays and my idea, long before he was a glimmer in his mother's eye! He can take credit for the horseradish mustard!
1 pound freshly ground chuck
1 pound freshly ground sirloin
8 bacon strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices white Cheddar, sliced 1/4-inch thick
8 slices yellow Cheddar, sliced 1/4-inch thick
8 hamburger buns or English Muffins
Horseradish Mustard, recipe follows
8 leaves Romaine Lettuce
Grilled Vidalia Onions, recipe follows
Dill pickles, sliced
Preheat grill or a cast iron skillet to high.
Combine the sirloin and the chuck
Divide the beef into 8 (4-ounce) burgers. Shape and with your thumb create a dimple in the middle, it helps it cook evenly. Season on both sides with salt and pepper, to taste. Lay a strip of bacon around the hamburgers. Grill or cook in the skillet for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare doneness. During last minutes of cooking add 2 slices of cheese to each burger, cover grill and let melt, approximately 1 minute.
Place burger on bun and top with Horseradish Mustard, lettuce, Grilled Vidalia Onions, pickles and ketchup.
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained
Whisk mustard and horseradish together in a small bowl.
Grilled Vidalia Onions:
2 Vidalia onions, sliced crosswise, 1/4-inch thick slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Brush olive oil on both sides of the onions and season with salt and pepper. Grill the onion slices for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
8 Baking Potatoes cut in 1 inch cubes
6 Hard boiled eggs chopped and cooled
2 Cups finely chopped Celery
1 tsp celery salt
1 1/2 - 2 Cups mayonnaise
Sliced radishes for garnish (optional)
Boil the potatoes until done but still holding their shape. Drain and cool completely. Combine with the eggs, celery, celery salt and pepper. Combine with mayonnaise. Use your discretion with the mayo adding one TB at a time. You don't want a dry potato salad. Add chives. (the radishes are only for decoration and can be easily skipped)
Make sure you make the potato salad first thing in the morning so that it has ample time to cool. You can make the night before.
2 pounds peaches (6-8 peaches) cut in 1/2, peeled, pitted, and cut in 1-inch wedges
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds, plus extra for sprinkling
Vanilla Ice Cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the sliced peaches, 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of the flour, and the orange juice and toss well. Add the blueberries and toss lightly. Pour into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish.
For the topping, place the remaining 1 cup of flour, the remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, and the salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. Pour the mixture into a bowl, add the oats, and work it with your hands until it's in large crumbles. Add 1/2 cup of the almonds and mix well.
Spread the topping evenly over the peaches, making sure the fruit is covered. Sprinkle with some extra almonds. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the fruit is tender and bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Monday, June 29, 2009
When I cross the bridge into Miami Beach, the first thing I think about is a fabulous food store called Epicure. Here you can find anything you want, with prices to match. My idea was to splurge on just one thing this week, and that was going to be filet of sole. Yesterday, I drove to the store in the middle of a torrential downpour, parked in ankle deep water and headed straight to the meat counter. You should have seen my face when I found out the price... $39.95 a pound!! Now, I think I am pretty shell shocked about everything these days, but this one takes the prize and almost beats the $18 Bellinis at Harry's Bar! Goes to show you the state of our oceans or the fact that there are still people in this world that will pay that for a piece of fish... at least in Miami Beach!
When we lived in Connecticut, I remember eating sole and flounder pretty regularly and never paying anything close to half this price. Don't think that our local fish here in Florida are that inexpensive either. Snapper, mahi -mahi, yellow tail and grouper at the docks in Key Biscayne sell for about $10/lbs, last time I checked... an extraordinary bargain when compared to the sole. Needless to say, I walked out of the store not only empty handed but with an $18 parking ticket to boot. Sometimes its better to stay in bed and call it a day.
One of the great things about this recipe, is that you can marinade the salmon in the morning before you go to work and have dinner in no time. Yes, it's not sole meuniere, but it is still quite delicious! Brace yourselves..it looks like we'll be eating a lot of salmon during this recession!
Yields 4 servings
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped green onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
Combine first 8 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag, and add salmon to bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 1/2 hours, turning bag occasionally.
Prepare grill or broiler.
Remove salmon from bag, reserving marinade. Place salmon on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Cook 6 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting frequently with reserved marinade.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. Even though both of them are great cooks, cooking in someone else's kitchen is always a challenge, particularly when you don't know what's available in the pantry. It is silly to go out and buy condiments or spices you are only going to use once during your stay, so I try to cook with what's available. Yesterday, I went to the store and bought some chicken breasts for dinner and for leftovers to use in chicken salad, pasta etc. Tonight, even I surprised myself. What came out of an almost empty refrigerator was fit for a party, never mind dinner for one! Thank God I also found some Pecorino Romano in back of the fridge, together with a lime I had brought for my daily vodka on the rocks!I know most of us don't stock Limoncello. I for one do not, but I can guarantee you that when I leave next week, the first thing I'll do when I get home is go out an buy a bottle. It is great in this dish as well as in espresso and as a digestif. Believe me, it won't go to waste!
Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy, in the region around the Gulf of Naples, the Sorrentine Peninsula and the coast of Amalfi and islands of Procida, Ischia and Capri, but also in Sicily, Sardinia, Menton in France and the Maltese island of Gozo. It is made from lemon rinds (traditionally from the Sorrento lemon, though most lemons will produce satisfactory limoncello), alcohol, water, and sugar. It is bright yellow in color, sweet and lemony, but not sour since it contains no lemon juice. It's also spelled Lemoncello.
Limoncello is traditionally served chilled as an after dinner digestivo. Along the Amalfi Coast, it is usually served in small ceramic glasses themselves often chilled, the Amalfi coast being a center of both ceramic and limoncello production.
It is wonderful as a palate cleanser or as an after dinner drink. Keep your bottles of limoncello in the freezer until ready to serve
Danny De Vito and George Clooney are great fans of Limoncello!
Venetian Isles Chicken Breast
4 very think skinless chicken breast
4 TB orange juice
juice from 1/2 lime
2 TB minced garlic
2 TB butter
2 TB olive oil
3/4 Cup Pecorino Romano, finely grated
2 TB Limoncello
Marinade chicken breasts in orange juice, lime juice and minced garlic. Place in ziplock bag and leave in refrigerator for 2 hrs.
Take the chicken out, bread in Pecorino Romano, making sure you press the cheese well into the chicken. Add Salt and Pepper. Melt Butter and Olive oil, turn heat to medium high and brown the chicken breasts for about 4 minutes on each side. If the heat is too high, lower it a bit. When the chicken breasts are done, remove to a plate add the limoncello and sweat the pan for about 1 minute. Add sauce on top of the chicken breasts. Divine!
Serve with Creamed Spinach
Note. Do not try substituting lemon juice for limoncello. The thing about limoncello is that is made of the rind and not the juice! lemon juice will be nice too but the sauce won't have the smooth taste that you get when you use limoncello. Most good liquor stores should carry Limoncello.
As a Mom who introduced her children to everything, if you want them to eat spinach, prepare this recipe and you will have them asking for more.
1 pkg frozen spinach
2 TB butter
2 TB flour
1 Cup milk (hot)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Cook spinach according to pkg directions. Cool. Squeeze all the water out and let it sit in a colander while you prepare the bechamel sauce.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter, add the flour, cook for 1 minute. Add the hot milk a little at a time while constantly stirring. Continue stirring until it comes to a boil, about another minute or two. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Serve at once, or reserve for later use covered in tinfoil.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I have been to Harry's bar on more than a few occasions, sometimes with friends and once by myself. I'll have to confess that it is one of the few places in the world where a woman can go alone and not feel strange or self conscious. The trick is to have your hotel concierge call and reserve the table for you, particularly if you are staying at the Gritti Palace or the Danielli. Years later, I found out an interesting policy of the restaurant's:
On the subject of getting a table, Arrigo Cipriani says 'My father always said that you should first seat the people who are by themselves because they have no one to talk to.'
You may be alone but, at Harry's Bar, the potential for people watching will more than make up for it!
As to the Bellini, if you want one just like the ones they serve at Harry's Bar, follow these directions:
1/3 part white peach puree
2/3 parts Prosecco
Make sure to pour the white peach nectar into the glass first.
If the peaches are not sweet enough, you can add a little sugar syrup to the peach puree.
A true Bellini is made with the nectar of white peaches and Italian sparkling wine, or Prosecco. White peaches, particularly the ones from California which are the best, are now arriving at supermarkets nationwide. Don't substitute the white peaches with yellow, particularly now that white peaches are in season.
White Peach Puree
You can easily peel the peaches by dropping them in hot boiling water for about a minute. Remove and peel immediately. Drop the pulp into a fine sieve and push down with a mortar to extract the juice. Freeze in individual containers and take out about a 1/2 hour before mixing.
Harry' Bar prices have always been outrageous... I can't imagine what they must be like now. A couple of years ago, a Bellini was 15 Euros, almost US$ 30 now! There is nothing like a Bellini drunk at Harry's Bar, but believe me, in the right atmosphere, they can be almost as good and you won't need to mortgage the house to order a couple!
I like to serve Bellinis before lunch, especially when the menu consists of risotto or any other Italian dish for lunch. They also go well with brunch and with cold salads. Very seldom will I serve a Bellini before dinner, unless it's terribly hot and we are having dinner outside.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
This has to be one of my favorite meals on the grill. So simple to make and yet nowadays, you hardly hear of anyone making shish kebabs. The trick is to buy good meat and assemble your own, not buy the stuff that comes already assembled at the grocery store.
The best cut of beef for shish kebabs is sirloin steak. After that, it's up to you, but I prefer mine with onions, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and bacon. The latter is the secret to the wonderful flavor. You can also add zucchini rounds and use half green and half red peppers marinade them for about an hour or longer and you are in business. There are so many good easy dishes like this to prepare, particularly if you have a grill, that I simply don't understand why people don't eat at home more often. It beats a pizza or takeout any day, including cost and waiting time. Just make sure you make enough for leftover Fajitas or Sirloin Hash with soft boiled eggs...two great meals for a lazy Sunday with the Perfect Bloody Mary.
1 large Sirloin steak cut in 1 1/2 in. cubes (figure on 4 cubes of meat per skewer)
2 tomatoes cut in quarters (2 quarters in each skewer)
2 onions cut in quarters (2 quarters in each skewer)
1 green pepper cut in 8 pieces (2 pieces in each skewer)
8 mushroom caps
4 slices of bacon each cut in half and rolled
1/2 cup olive oil
3 TB red wine vinegar
1 TB worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. Mc. Cormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning
Cut steak and vegetables in 1 1/2 in cubes. Cut each slice of bacon in half and roll. Alternate meat and vegetables on skewers making sure you stagger the bacon so that each skewer has 2 bacon rolls in addition to meat and vegetables. Marinade for at least 1 hour. Light your grill and wait till it registers to about 450 degrees. Grill kebabs 6 minutes on each side, pouring the marinade when you turn for the final 6 minutes of cooking. Remove from the grill, let rest 5 minutes and serve with white rice.
Serve with a hearty Cabernet from California or an Australian Shiraz
Leftovers...Shish Kebabs Fajitas For Lunch
I always try to make at least an extra skewer or two so I can have enough leftovers to make fajitas next day. I also chop extra onions, tomatoes and peppers and bunch them up on one skewer to grill together with the shish kebabs and use them the next day on fajitas or hash.
Place a flour tortilla in the microwave for 20 seconds so its softens. Slice the meat and together with the leftover vegetables place in the middle of the tortilla. Grate some Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese on top and add a few drops of Tabasco Sauce or some sliced jalapenos. Microwave for 20 seconds or until the cheese melts. Add a dollop of sour cream, fold and enjoy!
Leftovers...Sirloin Hash and Soft Boiled Eggs for Brunch
If you want to make hash the next day, all you need to do is add some potatoes to the leftover meat, onion, peppers and tomatoes. First peel and cut the potatoes in cubes. Dice the green peppers and onions. Melt some oil in a frying pan , add one clove of garlic, sautee for a couple of minutes, remove, add the potatoes and cook covered until they are almost done . Mash them a little in the pan and add the rest of the ingredients. Add a little heavy cream and press down into a thick pancake.. Cook until crisp, flip to the other side and cook until done. Remove to a platter. Top with soft boiled eggs.
Note: If you are in a pinch for a Father's Day Menu, check out our post published last week!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
In this casual main course, the shrimp is paired with a vibrant sweet-savory salsa. Serve the shrimp and the salsa with warm corn or flour tortillas or, as an alternative, saffron rice.
1 mango, peeled, pitted, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, diced
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. chopped green jalapeno (or to taste)
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup tequila
1-2 TBS chopped cilantro
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 cup olive oil
2 pounds uncooked jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 cup chopped scallions
Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt. Cover and chill. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Keep chilled.
Whisk first 5 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in 1/3 cup olive oil. Season marinade to taste with salt and pepper.
Place shrimp in large resealable plastic bag. Pour marinade into bag and seal. Turn to coat. Chill at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Drain shrimp, pat dry. Save 1/2 cup of marinade.
Add 3 tablespoons oil to skillet. Add shrimp and green onions; sauté until shrimp are browned on both sides, stirring often, about 3 minutes. If it needs more oil, add some. Add 1/4 cup of marinade and sautee another 1 minute on medium high. Add more marinade if necessary keeping in mind that it should be fairly absorbed by the time you remove the shrimp from the skillet. Simmer until shrimp is just opaque in center and mixture is heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to large shallow bowl. Garnish with lime slices. Serve with salsa and tortillas.
WHAT TO DRINK
Mexican beer is a natural match for this menu. I like Presidente and Corona.
*I dont like things too hot. 1/2 tsp. of chopped jalapeno is enough for me but you can add whatever amount you can live with.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I have been singing the praises of lemon basil for a long time and tonight was the crowning glory for this herb. Usually I use it as a secondary ingredient in pasta because of its subtle flavor but tonight, I decided to make it the main event and added a fair share, not only to the meatballs, but also to the sauce. The result was ethereal. The more I use this herb, the more I like it. If you haven't done so already, plant some in your garden, you still have time. You can find it in most nurseries...I found mine at Home Depot.
Most of the time, polpette, or meatballs, are served with the tomato sauce you use to accompany spaghetti and other types of hearty pasta recipes. Tonight, I broke all the rules and the results were extraordinary. I cut back on the garlic in the sauce, added some onion, which I never do, and even added some red wine. The new recipe was a very different, subtle and elegant polpette in a red wine sauce.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
3 cups day-old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/4 pounds ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 Cup Lemon Basil* finely chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 Cup bread crumbs
4 cloves garlic
1/4 C finely chopped onions
1 Cup of Pomi Chopped Tomatoes
1/4 C finely chopped Lemon Basil*
1/4 Cup red wine
Red pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste
In a shallow bowl, soak the bread cubes in enough water to cover. Remove the bread cubes and squeeze by hand to wring excess moisture.In a large bowl, combine the bread, beef, eggs, garlic, Parmesan, lemon basil, pine nuts, salt and pepper and mix by hand to incorporate bread into meat. With wet hands, form the mixture into 12 to 15 meatballs, each of a size somewhere between a tennis ball and a golf ball. Roll in the bread crumbs. In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil until almost smoking. Add the meatballs, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan, and cook until deep golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.
Take meat balls out and keep about 2 TB of the leftover oil. Add another 3 cloves of mashed garlic, and the onions. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the Pomi tomatoes, the lemon basil, salt & pepper and the red pepper flakes. Put the meatballs back in and cook covered for 15 minutes. Add 1/4 cup red wine and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. If the sauce is too thick and you are cooking spaghettini to go with it, add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to thin and cook another 5 minutes. Let it rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve with spaghetinni and sprinkle Parmeggiano Reggiano on top.
*If you can't find lemon basil, substitute regular fresh basil and grated lemon peel. For 1/2 cup basil add 1 TB grated lemon peel. As to the lemon basil in the sauce, just add regular fresh basil. Try to get lemon basil, it's what makes this dish!
I am a red wine aficionado, particularly of red Bordeaux. At a certain point in my life, one of my hobbies was collecting great bottles of wine and it was great fun. Now I hunt for good bottles at a decent price and, above all, at a price I can afford. These are getting harder to find, even when you look for what have always been reasonably priced producers from Argentina, Chile and Australia. I guard what is left of my Bordeaux bottles like a mother coyote and salivate when the Sherry Lehman catalogue arrives and I look at their inventory of fabulous wines with fabulous prices to match. Frankly, even if I could afford to, I would never pay these prices. For the past two decades, so much wealth has been created across the world, that it has been simply a question of too much money chasing a limited supply. .. but don't worry, the scales will tilt back, they always do. (Just as I was about to post this, I noticed on the Wine Spectator blog to the right, the announcement that Louis Latour is releasing its 2007 vintage at considerably lower prices than 2006)
In the past, my only saving grace has been that in the hot weather, I always switch to vodka for cocktails and give up red wine altogether. Summers in South Florida are pretty unbearable and can last well into the latter part of October. Red wine and heat don't make a good combination, particularly when it is not only hot but extremely humid. This year, though, things look bleaker for us vodka drinkers as the falling dollar has caused imports across the board to skyrocket to unaffordable prices on top of a poor economy. Double Whammy! What now?
Thursday, June 11, 2009
The art of the guilt trip is something that is practiced and perfected and passed on from mother to daughter and from generation to generation. I have never mastered the skill... believe me, I have always wanted to.... it works sooo well...but I guess I'm just missing THE gene. Or maybe I hated it so much over the years I refused to work "the magic" on my daughter. As a matter of fact, often without realizing it, SHE works it on Me. I guess the gene can skip a generation.
Primarily "the guilt trip" only works on girls...boys get off scott free, they just get handled by Dad, and dads are not guilt trip oriented since they don't have the gene either. Sometimes, they too can be the recipients of the "guilt trip"! (How do you think Mom got all her jewelry!) If you think Jewish mothers have a monopoly on this art, and it IS an art, don't bet on it until you meet a Cuban mother, particularly a Catholic one..
Anyway, today I did something that got me "the guilt trip", big time. I must admit I deserved it...maybe just a little...so on the way home all I could think of was how to do damage control.. and then I remembered the blueberries in the refrigerator and her favorite muffins, Jordan Marsh's Blueberry Muffins.
For those of you too young to remember, Jordan Marsh and Burdine's were THE department stores here in Miami. Two or three times a year in the 1950s we came to Miami to shop and load up on goodies to take back home to Havana. Both of these stores had really nice restaurants, but Jordan Marsh was famous for its blueberry muffins.
Jordan Marsh was a Boston-based department store founded in 1841 by Eben Jordan and Benjamin L. Marsh. With the rise of retail conglomerates, Jordan Marsh became part of Allied Stores (1931) and then Federated Department Stores (1988), a move that renamed all stores, including the flagship store in Boston, Macy's. The Jordan Marsh flagship store was home to the legendary Enchanted Village, an elaborate holiday display which, at times, spanned an entire floor of the store in addition to its windows. Perhaps even more legendary were Jordan Marsh's bakeries. Infamous, however, were the blueberry muffins. A December 2004 Boston Globe article put it best: "For decades, any decent downtown shopping trip ended at Jordan Marsh, where the promise of a sugar-crusted blueberry muffin could make annoying children angelic."
The store closed a while back but the recipe has been passed around from generation to generation, just like "the guilt trip". Bingo!...that must have been what reminded me of it... It is my Mother's favorite muffin recipe and one that makes her smile, forgive and, hopefully, forget!
(don't bet on the latter...)
- 1/2 c. butter
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 2 c. flour
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 pint (2 cups) blueberries
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Grease and flour a 12 cup muffin tin
Cream together shortening, and sugar.
Add baking powder and eggs and mix well.
Add flour, milk and vanilla, mix well.
Add blueberries - mash 1/4 a little before you add and the rest add whole
Wait 10 min., and mix again (you get bigger muffins this way)*
Fill the muffin cups to the top of the pan.
Sprinkle some sugar on top of each muffin.
Bake at 450 degrees F for 5 minutes.
Drop the temperature to 350 degrees F and bake an additional 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
Cool and remove from pan.
*this is my trick, not JM's
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Cauliflower is one of the most delicious and neglected of all purees. It is also a great alternative to mashed potatoes, except, of course, for Thanksgiving dinner. If you are making the roast turkey from the previous post, try it with this the first night instead of the mashed potatoes. Just think, unlike potatoes, you don't have to peel cauliflower!... and it is also low in calories and carbs, and high in fiber. Couldn't ask for more.
There are many things you can add to this puree including wasabi paste (other people's idea, not mine) and garlic, but I like mine with just a little parmersan cheese and butter. There is enough moisture in the cauliflower so that you don't have to add cream or milk, but there again, I sometimes sneak a little milk or cream to make it smoother. Try putting it in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes afterwards to "dry" it up and add another 5 -10 minutes under the broiler to brown the parmesan. That is my secret.
This is one of those dishes that should be high on your list of healthy, delicious and economical...If you have never tried it... do...you will be pleasantly surprised!
1 head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons butter softened
2 TB cream or milk (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, cut off the stems of the cauliflower and break into florets. Toss in a steamer basket atop the boiling water and steam for about 30 minutes or until tender.
2. Remove the cauliflower and toss it in a blender*. Process until smooth.
3. With the motor running add the butter, salt, and pepper. When incorporated, turn off the blender, and fold in the parmesan and chives. Season with salt if it needs it. If you are going to serve later or the next day, stop here and stick it in the refrigerator. To serve immediately add more Parmesan on top, place in the oven for about 15 minutes and another 5 under the broiler. Add more chives before you serve.
If you are going to serve it later on in the day, take out of the fridge an hour before, add more parmesan cheese to the top and place in the oven at 350 until hot (usually 20 minutes) and in the broiler another 5-10 minutes. Add chives before serving.
*You can also mash the cauliflower with a potato masher right in the pot if you do not have a blender or food processor.
When I want to have turkey for lunch meat or sandwiches, I don't like to buy it from the deli, no matter how good a deli it is. Instead, I roast a Turkey Breast Roll, have it for dinner that night and have leftovers for the rest of the week. This recipe is so simple, that if you get in early from the office during the week and have everything ready, you can have it for dinner that night. I usually accompany it with mashed potatoes and green peas or french beans. A salad works just as well.
Transfer the turkey breast to a cutting board. Let rest at least 10 min, preferably 20. Place the roasting pan with the drippings (onions and apples too) on top of the stove. Add water if needed and a little more wine. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce to about half. Strain the sauce.
Cut the turkey breast by separating the breast meat from the breast bone and cutting as you would a roast. This way everyone gets a little meat and skin. Serve with the sauce on the side.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Bougainvillea is a genus of flowering plants native to South America from Brazil west to Peru and south to southern Argentina. Different authors accept between four and 18 species in the genus. The plant was discovered in Brazil in 1768, by Philibert Commerçon, French Botanist accompanying French Navy admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville during his his voyage of circumnavigation. They grow in warm climates, particularly Mexico, Florida, the Keys, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, South America, the Mediterranean countries, Southern California, South Carolina and Texas. I am sure I am missing a country or two, so if you reside in one of them I'm sure I will be hearing from you.
This is the second bougainvillea casualty in less than two months, the other being ours which is sick from something that has eaten all the leaves. I have been treating it with Bayers Advanced Insect Control for flowering trees and bushes and spraying it with a copper solution and praying that it comes back. The prognosis does not look good, particularly with all the rain we have been getting which bougainvilleas hate.
I am very sorry to see that the topiary will not be replaced. In its stead, there are a couple of pretty bushes by the side of the driveway waiting to be planted. The other show stopper in the neighborhood, my mother's bougainvillea, is a bigger problem because it shades and provides a hanging place for all the beautiful orchids she grows. We will be devastated if it doesn't make it. Ay vey, sometimes we don't realize the value of our plants until they get sick or die.
Friday, June 5, 2009
For Father's Day, if you are making the Grilled Skirt, I suggest Ina Garten's Brownie Pudding which she serves with vanilla ice cream. If you want to keep with the Argentinian theme, you can also serve with Dulce de Leche Ice Cream. Haagen Danz, of course, makes the best. When this flavor first came out, every time I bought some, I ended up eating the whole quart. After a while, I got so sick of it I couldnt even look at it. I'm just beginning to warm up to it again...not good.
Makes 6 Servings
Oven: 325 Degrees
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup good cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon framboise liqueur, optional
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.
When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds, framboise, if using, and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.
Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.
Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.
yields :20 large brownies
Oven: 350 degrees, 30 min.
1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 ¼ cups flour, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups diced walnut pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.
Melt together the butter, chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.
Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and chocolate chips with flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not overbake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares.
The best Chimichurri Sauce I have ever had was made by my Salvadorian housekeeper...the one my children terrorized whenever I went away on long business trips abroad. I am sure my Argentinian friends will cringe at the thought of soy sauce in their famous asado sauce. But it works. Funny thing is she kept the recipe a secret from me for a long time until one day leafing thru my Joy of Cooking I found it, with just the ingredients listed, no amounts. I have made it many times, always stopping when I come to the soy sauce and always acquiescing in the end.
Argentinian sausages from El Gaucho
or assorted Italian sausages
I sometimes boil the sausages for 30 minutes and then place them on the grill for another 5-10 minutes to char. Most of the time, I cook them directly on the grill for about 30 minutes. Make sure you place them on the outside fringe of the fire where the temperature is medium hot. You can warm up your baguettes on the grill also. When they are done, cut them in slices or serve them whole on small plates. Serve with mustard and chimichurri on the side and the hot baguette.
Figure on 1 1/2 sausage per person. These are quite filling so serve them early to give your guests time to recover before the main course!
1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 TB red wine vinegar
2 TB chopped garlic
2TB chopped onion
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. Soy Sauce or to taste
Red pepper, to taste
Mix well in a bowl. Set aside. Do not refrigerate! Make sure you make enough to serve with the grilled skirt also.