Monday, January 27, 2020

Taste of Home: Slow-Cooked Lamb Chops

I honestly didn't think that lamb chops made in a slow cooker would actually be worth eating.  I really thought they were roast or forget it.  I'm very, very happy to be wrong.  This recipe turns out some incredibly tender lamb chops, and if you go to the effort of making the gravy, a delicious sauce for some mashed potatoes or rice.  I am absolutely keeping this recipe in the rotation.

Note: Lamb loin chops look like little T-bone steaks.

Slow-Cooked Lamb Chops
Adapted from Taste of Home

1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 lamb loin chops (about 1¾ pounds)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon dried parsley
⅛ teaspoon Accent powder (optional)

Place onion in the bottom of a 3-quart slow cooker insert. Combine the oregano, thyme, marjoram, garlic powder, salt and pepper; rub over the lamb chops. Place chops over onion. Top with garlic. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours, or until the meat is tender.

Remove the meat and onions to a plate and pour off the remaining liquid into a measuring cup.  Separate the fat from the broth and discard.  You should have about 1 cup of broth.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter and sprinkle the flour over.  Stir together and cook for about 30 seconds, or until the flour smells a little nutty.  Add the broth and stir well.  Lower the heat to medium and simmer until the mixture starts to thicken.  Add in the parsley and Accent powder, if using.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve the gravy with the lamb chops and onions.

Makes 4 servings

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Vivian Howard: Bacon-Roasted Squash with Rosemary Honey

I found some honeynut squash at my local store, so of course I snapped it up, even though I had no idea what I was going to make with it.  Luckily I came across this recipe, which basically has everything good in the world involved.  The sweetness of the squash, along with the smoky bacon, and the sweet-sour rosemary honey makes a pretty perfect winter side dish.

Note: The original recipe used mixed root vegetables, such as turnips, beets, rutabagas, carrots, and celery root.  I think either way is delicious.

Bacon-Roasted Squash with Rosemary Honey
Adapted from Vivian Howard, Chef and the Farmer, Kinston, NC

For the rosemary honey:
½ cup honey
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 sprigs rosemary
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

For the roasted squash:
5 cups honeynut or butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
1½ cups slab bacon, diced into ½-inch cubes
1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Make the rosemary honey: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the honey, vinegar, soy sauce, rosemary and red pepper flakes to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has slightly thickened and reduced to about ½ cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and let cool before discarding the rosemary.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a medium bowl, toss together the squash, sugar, and oil, then season with salt and pepper. Spread the seasoned squash and bacon out onto a sheet tray in one layer.

Roast, turning the squash and bacon halfway through cooking, until the squash is caramelized and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Spoon the bacon and roasted squash onto a platter and drizzle them with the some of the rosemary honey. Reserve the leftover honey for another use.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Maya Kosoff: Seafoam Salad

Did everyone see the thread on Twitter about weird Thanksgiving family recipes?  If you didn't, you sure missed out on some doozies.  But I have to say, the item that basically started it all, the seafoam salad, is actually pretty delicious.  It's refreshing lime, with a creamy yet sandy texture, and I'm just not sure how you can not like it.  I can especially see this being a good palate cleanser on Thanksgiving or great with grilled fish on a hot day.  I actually recommend this dinosaur of a recipe.

Seafoam Salad
Adapted from Maya Kosoff (@mekosoff) on Twitter

1 (6-ounce) package lime Jell-O
2 (15-ounce) cans pear halves in juice
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
Strawberries, for serving

Spray a Bundt pan lightly with Pam.

Put Jell-O powder in a big bowl.  Add water to pear juice to equal 2 cups and heat just to boiling.  Pour over Jell-O powder to dissolve.  Add one cup cold water; let cool slightly.

Place pear halves in a blender and puree until the consistency of applesauce.  Set aside.

In a mixer bowl, beat cream cheese with 3 tablespoons of heavy cream until smooth.  Add the pureed pears, a little at a time, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.  Slowly whisk in the cooled Jell-O mixture until well combined.

In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream with sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.  Gently whisk the whipped cream into the lime mixture.  Pour the lime mixture into the prepared Bundt pan and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.

Makes 16 servings

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Gourmet: Beef Rib Roast with Garlic and Rosemary

Someone must have decided they only needed half of a rib roast, because I found myself the proud owner of the other half.  It was perfect size for one person to get a couple of meals, and it allowed me to try this fantastic recipe without sinking $50+ into a possible disaster.  The garlic-rosemary rub really gives the beef a great flavor, and the cooking instructions, when followed properly, yield a beautiful medium-rare roast.  This is also a refreshing change from quite a lot of turkey.

Beef Rib Roast with Garlic and Rosemary
From Gourmet magazine, unpublished December 2009 edition

12 garlic cloves
¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (4-rib) standing beef rib roast (bone-in prime rib; 9 to 10 pounds)

Pulse garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a food processor until smooth, then rub all over roast.  Transfer to a rack set in a 13x9-inch roasting pan and marinate, chilled, at least 8 hours.

Let roast stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.  Roast meat, fat side up, 20 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat (do not touch bone) registers 110°F, about 1½ to 2 hours more.  Transfer to a platter and let rest, uncovered, 30 minutes (temperature of meat will rise to about 130°F for medium-rare).

Makes 8 servings

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Truffle Scalloped Potatoes

Love potatoes?  Want something over-the-top rich and creamy?  Boy, do I have a deal for you.  These potatoes are a wonderful side dish for a fancy holiday meal, and that's exactly what I used them for.  The sottocenere cheese has just enough truffle to make these flavorful without hitting anyone over the head.  These potatoes are absolutely getting made again.  And again.

Note: Sottocenere al tartufo is a semi-soft cheese with truffles in it.  It's the only way these potatoes get a truffle flavor, so it can't really be swapped out.

Truffle Scalloped Potatoes

3 large Russet potatoes (about 2½ pounds), peeled and thinly sliced on a mandoline
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon sea salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large clove garlic, minced
6 ounces sottocenere al tartufo cheese, shredded
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup half-and-half or milk
2 teaspoons chicken base, such as Better Than Bouillon

Butter a 2-quart baking dish.  Preheat oven to 375°F.

In the bottom of the dish, make a layer of potato slices, slightly overlapping each piece so that the bottom is completely covered.  Sprinkle with half of the flour, a third of the salt and pepper, half of the garlic, and a third of the two cheeses.  Repeat again for the second layer.  For the third layer, lay out the potato slices, and season with remaining salt and pepper.

Combine the cream, half-and-half, and chicken base and pour slowly over the top of the potatoes.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheeses.  Cover, place dish on a baking sheet to catch any spillover, and bake for 1½ hours.  Remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes to brown.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Steph Gaudreau: Roasted Chestnuts with Herbed Brown Butter

I'm pretty fascinated by chestnuts, especially with all of the holiday songs that mention them.  I drink the chestnut praline lattes at Starbucks every winter, but that's about all the chestnut I have in my life.  So I figured I would try a savory version and see what I thought.  The herb butter is really nice, but there's just something about the texture of these things that I can't get past.  They're not really a nut, more...mushy.  And my brain has a hard time with that.  However, if you absolutely love chestnuts, you'll probably enjoy these.

Note:  Admission time - I tried to roast the chestnuts and peel them.  I really did.  But the chestnuts wouldn't peel cleanly, and I didn't want to serve half-peeled chestnuts, so I ended up buying some already roasted, peeled chestnuts and using those.

Roasted Chestnuts with Herbed Brown Butter
From Steph Gaudreau

1 pound chestnuts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Using a sharp knife, score an X in the top of each chestnut. You don’t have to cut deep down into the meat, but make sure you pierce the skin. Chestnuts will explode in the oven if not properly scored. Roast the chestnuts on a baking sheet for 20 to 30 minutes, until the shells have peeled back. Allow to cool, and peel the shells off.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the ghee. If using butter, allow it to brown. Toss in the herbs and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the peeled chestnuts, season with salt and pepper, and stir well.

Cook for another couple of minutes and serve warm.

Makes 4 servings

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Lemons for Lulu: Toasted Coconut White Chocolate Fudge

I always thought I was a semi-sweet chocolate-only kind of fudge person.  I never thought that would change.  But now I'm questioning what I know about myself, because this fudge is unreal.  UNREAL.  I made this as a present for coworkers, and it was pretty much unanimously decreed as super delicious.  I highly recommend making this part of your yearly holiday preparations.

Note: I used Ghirardelli white chocolate chips.  I also actually poured this into two 8-inch disposable foil pans, and it worked well.  A 9-inch pan will get you really thick fudge.

Toasted Coconut White Chocolate Fudge
From Lemons for Lulu blog

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
3 cups granulated sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
12 ounces white chocolate chips
1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme
2 tablespoons cream of coconut (found in drink mixer section of your grocery store)
1 teaspoon coconut extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spread the coconut out in a thin layer on a half sheet pan or cookie sheet.  Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the coconut is light brown.  Remove the pan from the oven quickly and transfer the coconut to a dish so that it doesn't burn.

Prepare a pan by lining a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a saucepan combine sugar, butter, and evaporated milk over medium heat. Bring mixture to a rapid boil, stirring constantly. Continue to cook for 4 minutes, or until a candy thermometer registers 234°F. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the chocolate and marshmallow fluff. Add in coconut cream, coconut (reserving 2 tablespoons), and extract. Pour into prepared pan, top with reserved toasted coconut.

Allow fudge to set completely before cutting into squares.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Bon Appétit: Double Pecan Thumbprints

Each year around this time, we all beg my mother to make pecan sandies for our Christmas cookie stash.  They're absolutely delicious, but this year I couldn't help but wonder - what if I made a cookie that was even MORE stuffed with pecan deliciousness?  The answer is: eat them as often as possible.  There's something pretty fantastic about this cookie.  It's tender and bursting with flavor.  And the espresso powder in the frangipane really boosts this cookie up another level.

Double Pecan Thumbprints
From Bon Appétit magazine, December 2018

1¾ cups pecan halves, plus 26 additional for topping
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg white
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons espresso powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon almond extract

Dough and Assembly
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup powdered sugar, divided; plus more for serving (optional)
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

For the frangipane:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lightly toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until slightly darkened in color and fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool; set 1 cup pecans plus 26 of the prettiest halves aside for making the dough and final cookie.

Pulse granulated sugar and remaining ¾ cup pecans in a food processor until nuts are very finely ground (be careful to stop before they become a paste), 30 to 60 seconds. Add egg white and pulse just to blend, then add butter, espresso powder, salt, and almond extract. Pulse just until mixture is smooth and combined. Scrape frangipane into a small bowl and chill at least 30 minutes before using.

Do Ahead: Frangipane can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled. You will have more than you need, but try slathering leftovers on toasted brioche and baking until lightly browned (sort of like an almond croissant). We guarantee you won’t be upset about it.

For the dough and assembly:
Pulse flour, salt, baking powder, and 1 cup reserved pecans in clean food processor until nuts are very finely ground, about 1 minute.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, and ¼ cup powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined and no streaks remain. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients. Beat just until incorporated, about 1 minute. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough until it’s firm enough that you can scoop it and it will hold its shape, 30 to 45 minutes.

Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350°F. Place ½ cup powdered sugar in a shallow bowl. Working in batches, scoop out tablespoonfuls of dough and roll into balls between your hands, then roll in powdered sugar, knocking off any excess. Transfer to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets as you work, spacing 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies until puffed but edges are still soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Carefully remove from oven and make an indent in the center of each cookie with the handle end of a wooden spoon or a similar heatproof object. Spoon a heaping ½-teaspoonful of frangipane into each and top with a pecan half from remaining reserved 26 halves. Return cookies to oven and continue to bake until edges are set and very lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes longer. Let cool on baking sheets.

Just before serving, dust cookies with more powdered sugar if desired.

Makes about 26 cookies

Friday, December 13, 2019

Bon Appétit: Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies

After many years of the same cookies every holiday season, I'm getting more and more into the unusual additions to the dessert table.  I mean, chocolate chip is fine for everyday cookie noshing, but I want something a little more interesting for a special occasion.  I saw these cookies in a post from Bon Appétit online, and having never tried pistachio cookies of any type, decided these were the ones.  I will say, the comments on this recipe reflect where I struggled a little with the filling, but I found that if you refrigerate the pistachio butter until it reaches a better non-melty consistency, then beat it into a smooth pipe-able paste, it all works out just fine.  And the Honey-Vanilla Sablé cookie part would be great alone anyway.

Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies
From Bon Appétit magazine, December 2017

⅓ cup finely chopped raw pistachios
1 log Honey-Vanilla Sablé Dough
½ cup raw whole pistachios
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place pistachios in a small bowl. Unwrap dough and slice crosswise into 18 pieces and roll each between the palms of your hands into smooth balls. Press gently into pistachios to coat half of each ball, then place, pistachio side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies until barely golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and press the handle of a wooden spoon about three-quarters of the way down into the center of each cookie to make a round indentation, and wiggle in a circular motion to widen. Return to oven; bake until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet.

Process ½ cup raw pistachios, 2 tablespoons honey, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a food processor to a smooth paste.  Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat pistachio paste and butter in a small bowl until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds. If paste is too thin and oily, refrigerate until it firms up, then beat until fluffy.  Dollop 1 to 2 teaspoons pistachio mixture into the indentation in each cookie.

Honey-Vanilla Sablé Dough
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup granulated sugar
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
¼ cup honey

Whisk flour, cardamom, and salt in a medium bowl to combine. Place sugar in a large bowl and scrape in vanilla seeds; save pods for another use. Massage mixture with your fingers until sugar looks like wet sand. Add butter and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Add egg yolk and honey; beat to combine. Reduce speed to low; add dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing well after each addition. Knead dough a couple of times to incorporate any dry bits in the bottom of the bowl.

Divide dough in half and pat into two 9-inch long logs. Wrap each log in parchment paper, then wrap tightly in plastic. Roll each log across work surface to make as round and regular as possible, then chill until firm, about 2 hours.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Ina Garten: Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I know most people are not Brussels sprouts people, but my family most definitely is.  What's not to like about mini cabbages, especially when they're all roasty and fabulous?  So I'm always looking for a new recipe for these little guys.  This is one is pretty simple, but the balsamic vinegar syrup really balances everything out in a pretty delicious way.  Definitely a keeper.

Note: I did not have a very expensive syrupy balsamic vinegar, so I cooked ½ cup of semi-expensive balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey over medium-high heat until it reached a syrupy 2 tablespoons and used all of it.

Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
From Ina Garten

1½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the core
4 ounces pancetta, ¼-inch-diced
¼ cup good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon syrupy balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place the Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan, including some of the loose leaves, which get crispy when they're roasted. Add the pancetta, olive oil, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper, toss with your hands, and spread out in a single layer.

Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20 to 30 minutes, until they're tender and nicely browned and the pancetta is cooked. Toss once during roasting. Remove from the oven, drizzle immediately with the balsamic vinegar, and toss again. Taste for seasonings, and serve hot.

Makes 6 servings