Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ina Garten: Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

I've always been a broccoli girl.  Back in school when they had broccoli with lunch, I swear I was the only kid who asked for it.  My friends would sit there and watch me it like I was swallowing a goldfish or something.  Maybe my family was weird, who knows.

The usual steamed broccoli gets a little boring after a while, so I need ways to liven things up.  I came across this recipe on pinterest (yes, I'm addicted), and the person swore up and down it was as good as steak.  Now, I don't know about you, but if someone tells me this broccoli is so good it's like steak, I HAVE to try it.  Awfully glad I did, because this combination of lemon, Parmesan, pine nuts, and olive oil is magical.  Not magical enough to make this a bone-in ribeye, but I'll take it.

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli
From Ina Garten

4 to 5 pounds broccoli
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
6½ tablespoons good olive oil
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks.  Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart.  You should have about 8 cups of florets.  Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer.  Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil.  Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.  Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1½ tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil.  Serve hot.

Makes 6 servings

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Amateur Gourmet: Kumquat Marmalade

I still remember my first kumquat.  I was stalking the produce aisles of Central Market, and I came to that section where they keep all the weird stuff that most people can't identify.  Of course this draws my attention, because I'm nosy like that.  The first thing I see are these tiny little oval oranges.  So I have to have them.  No clue what I'm going to do with them, but that comes later, right?

I ended up just eating that first small bagful, but I knew the kumquats were meant for so much more.  So when they appeared once again this week, I dug myself up a recipe that would allow me to enjoy these beauties all year long.  Sweet, sour, sticky, and now dolloped in my car's cup holder as I tried to maneuver my toast and coffee and fifteen bags in time to catch the bus, it was very much worth it.

Kumquat Marmalade
Adapted from The Amateur Gourmet blog

1½ pounds kumquats
1 pound sugar
Juice of 1 orange plus enough water to equal 3 cups
2 tablespoons powdered fruit pectin
4 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Wash kumquats thoroughly.  Cut each kumquat into very thin slices, discarding seeds.  Put kumquat slices into a large pot and mix with the sugar.  Pour in the orange juice/water mixture and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium.  Cook kumquats until syrupy, about 45 minutes.

Sprinkle the fruit pectin over the kumquats and stir in.  The kumquat syrup should thicken after a few minutes.  To test the marmalade, put a spoon in the freezer for at least five minutes.  Remove the spoon from the freezer and pour about half a spoon of the marmalade into the cold spoon.  Return the spoon to the freezer for a minute or so.  Remove the spoon from the freezer and feel the underside of the bowl of the spoon.  It should be neither hot nor cold.  When tilted, the syrup on the spoon should run sluggishly.  Stir in the Grand Marnier and allow the syrup to cook for another minute or two.  Remove the marmalade from the heat and let stand for five to ten minutes.

Pour the kumquat marmalade into 4 half pint jars and twist on the caps.  Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Then turn off the heat, remove the lid, and allow the jars to sit in the water bath for another 5 minutes.  Remove the jars to a rack to cool.

Makes 4 half pint jars

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Pioneer Woman: Tex-Mex Migas (Tex-Mex Scrambled Eggs with Tortilla Strips)

I didn't know this, but I had a date with destiny.  And that destiny was to find and taste and fall in love with the best breakfast ever.  And what is this breakfast destiny?  Migas.  I swear, I'm not making this up.  Migas is probably the most perfect breakfast dish ever.  Lots of protein, cheesy goodness, some carbs, some spice, and the fact that you can throw just about anything in it, and it's STILL fabulous.

I basically went off the recipe that the Pioneer Woman posted (although migas isn't really a recipe, it's an experience).  I added some diced green chiles, because it sounded good.  I also think chorizo sounds good, but I was out, but if you're more motivated than me to go to the store on Saturday morning, more power to you.  It still whipped up into a breakfast to remember, with plenty left over to tease my jealous coworkers with on Monday morning.

Tex-Mex Migas (Tex-Mex Scrambled Eggs with Tortilla Strips)
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman blog

4 corn tortillas
3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
6 large eggs
¼ cup half and half
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
½ yellow onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, seeds removed, chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat until it shimmers.  Add the tortillas, one a time, a cook until they are crispy and stiff.  Drain on paper towels.  Cut tortillas into bite-sized chunks.  Set aside.

Beat the eggs with the half-and-half and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium and add the onion and green chiles to the oil remaining in the frying pan.  Cook until the onion is translucent and most of the liquid is gone.  Add the tomatoes and cook until most of the liquid is gone.  Sprinkle the cumin, salt, and black pepper over the vegetable mixture.  Add the tortillas pieces and stir to combine.

Pour over the egg mixture and stir occasionally, making sure the eggs don’t burn, until all of the eggs are cooked and there is no liquid in the pan.  Smooth out the top of the migas and sprinkle with the cheese.  Turn off the heat and allow the cheese to melt.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with salsa, sour cream, and avocado, if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Do you know what the most addicting bread in the world is?  The biscuits you get at Red Lobster.  Cheddar Bay Biscuits.  I think I know why they won't release the recipe to the public.  It's because there's crack in them.  Okay, maybe not, but they're fantastic regardless.  And this is my mighty effort at replication, based on many hours of internet research.  Enjoy!

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold
1½ cups grated Cheddar cheese (large grate size, not finely grated)
1¾ cups buttermilk
Quick Butter Topping

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Work in the butter with a pastry cutter or pulse in a food processor until the mixture resembles pea-size granules. Stir in cheese, then add buttermilk. Scoop biscuit dough out by spoonfuls (about ¼ cup each) onto a Silpat lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes, remove the biscuits, and brush with butter topping. Put the biscuits back in the oven for another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the biscuits from the oven and brush lightly with more butter topping.

Makes approximately 24 biscuits

Quick Butter Topping
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
¼ teaspoon Accent powder
⅛ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Melt butter. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

The New Brooklyn Cookbook: Delicata Squash with Toasted Squash Seeds and Aleppo Pepper

When I originally got my Brooklyn cookbook, I was groaning at the thought of all that Italian food that must be between the covers.  I wasn't entirely right on that count, but what I did find was a bunch of pretentious food that no decent cook would waste their time on.  I figure that if you have to make five different items and bring them together to make the whole, and this "whole" barely covers the glaring white center of the dish, fuhgeddaboudit.  Yes, I just did that.

Luckily I managed to scrounge up the saving grace of this cookbook (Yes, cookbook, you were destined for the Half Price Books discount bin!  You hear me???).  This beautiful squash recipe is like nothing else I have ever tried.  It takes just about forever to pick all the seeds from the membranes to toast, but gosh, it's worth it.  Creamy magical squashy goodness, right here.

Delicata Squash with Toasted Squash Seeds and Aleppo Pepper

Six delicate squash, 3 to 4 inches long, halved lengthwise
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
Coarse salt
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
2 egg whites
Ground Aleppo pepper or paprika, for garnish
Sea salt, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Scrape the seeds from the squash and place them in a colander.  Rinse under cold water to remove as much pulp as you can.  Drain, then transfer the seeds to a plate lined with a paper towel and reserve.

Peel 6 of the squash halves (the least attractive ones) and cut them into 1-inch cubes.  Place the cubed squash in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.  Add 6 tablespoons of the butter and season with salt.  Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the squash is soft, 25 to 30 minutes.  Transfer to a blender and, working in batches, puree the squash with the maple syrup.  (You can also use an immersion blender to puree the squash.)  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, pureeing until the mixture is silky smooth and thick.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

While the squash is cooking, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper.  Season the remaining squash halves with salt and pepper and place them cut side down on the baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until tender.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.  Toss the reserved squash seeds with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.  Toast the seeds in the oven until they are crispy and aromatic, 15 to 20 minutes.  Stir the seeds halfway through the cooking time to break them apart.

Whip the egg whites to soft peaks and fold them into the cooked squash puree.  Spoon the puree into the baked squash halves.  Return them to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the puree and the edges of the squash are golden brown.

To serve, drizzle each squash half with olive oil and garnish with the toasted seeds, Aleppo pepper or paprika, and sea salt.

Makes 6 servings

Friday, January 04, 2013

Betty Crocker: Olive-Cheese Balls

I can't remember a single Christmas Eve where these little retro appetizers didn't show up.  And they're so retro.  I pretty much think anything with pimiento-stuffed olives falls in that category.  I mean, they were putting olives in everything in the seventies.  Maybe it was just an excuse to have them on hand for martinis.  Regardless, these are pretty darn good for as simple as they are.

Olive-Cheese Balls
From Betty Crocker

2 cups (8 ounces) finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
48 small pimiento-stuffed green olives, drained and patted dry

Stir together the cheese and flour in a large bowl.  Stir in butter thoroughly.  Mold 1 teaspoon of dough around each olive; shape into a ball.  Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but no longer than 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until light brown.

Makes 4 dozen appetizers