Saturday, February 26, 2011

FFwD: Dorie Greenspan’s "short ribs in red wine and port"

It’s another French Fridays with Dorie. This week’s dish was started on Wednesday, finished and served on Thursday but not posted until Saturday. Things got busy. Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for “short ribs in red wine and port” can be found on pages 254 & 255 in her book around my French table: more than 300 recipe from my home to yours.

They’re predicting snow in San Francisco. Could there be a better night to come home to short ribs? Most of the cooking for this satisfying meal was done the day before which made for a relaxing dinner prep after a long day at work. The overnight chill allowed for a quick and easy removal of the fat. Broiling the meat and heating the sauce filled the house with a warm earthy aroma and just the slightest hint of Asia.  The meat was tender and flavorful and the sauce was thin but velvety rich. In the recipe Dorie warns the sauce will be thin so I wasn’t worried as I warmed it on the stove. Served the short ribs with mashed potatoes and peas. Well received by resident teen. 

Bon Appétit

11 short ribs, about 4 inches each weighed close to 6 pounds. I had the butcher cut them in half because I like them small and it looked like they weren’t very big in the photo.
Carrots were small, used 3
Used parsnips, also small, used 2
6 cups broth
Citrus = orange
More salt?
Vegetables got soft but never really browned. The pot I used (yellow Club Dutch oven) was deep and narrow; wonder if there had been more surface space would the vegetables have browned?
Keep an eye on meat while under the broiler.
Very good.
Meat, fall off the bone tender.
Plenty left, will freeze some for future dinner. Hope it holds up.
Would make again but be sure to allow 2 days.
Store meat, sauce, and gremolata separately for tasty leftovers.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Meyer Lemon Pudding to-go

I’ve made Meyer Lemon Pot de Crèmes several times and think they’re delicious but I was looking for something a little homier when I came up with this recipe. I also wanted to use my small Chinese to-go boxes and knew they wouldn’t stand up to a water bath. Voilà, pudding adapted from an old copy of “Joy of Cooking” and entered in the food52 pudding contest. For kids lunches chill pudding in something a little sturdier like Tupperware or Gladware.

I also chilled some of this pudding in used canning jars. Inspired by Stephanie Brubaker & her blog Stephmodo who is always sharing treats from her kitchen with friends and neighbors I wanted to share some of this comforting pudding. My neighbor Patricia is famous for her plum jam and every Christmas I’m a lucky recipient of this homemade treat. Patricia likes the jars and rims back so that she can re-use them and I’m all for it. This year, instead of giving her jars back empty she’ll have ready-made dessert for tonight. Patricia also gave me the lemons I used in this recipe. I have great neighbors!

Meyer Lemon Pudding to-go

½ cup sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
4 cups milk
2 eggs
3 teaspoons Meyer lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt and lemon zest in the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl you can set over boiling water. While mixing, slowly add milk and place over (not touching) boiling water. Stir constantly until mixture begins to thicken. About 10 minutes. Cover and cook 10 more minutes.

Whisk together Meyer lemon juice and eggs. Stir about 1 cup of hot milk into eggs and add to milk over hot water. Stir constantly and cook for 2 minutes. Don’t overcook. Remove from heat, stir gently until slightly cooled, and add vanilla.

Continue stirring over an ice bath and pour into individual to-go containers and refrigerate until cold and somewhat firm.

In my bridal shower gift (1986)  “Joy of Cooking” edition the pudding is called blancmange but I can’t say blancmange without thinking of Monty Python. At roughly the 3 minute mark the menacing blancmange shows up. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

FFwD: Dorie Greenspan’s pancetta green beans

This dish is quick and delicious. Green beans are a family favorite and often part of our weeknight dinners. Typically I quickly steam beans and serve them plain so it was fun to give our old standby a bit of a twist. Dorie Greenspan’s recipe found on page 333 of her latest book, Around My French Table was a great discovery. The recipe made more than the two of us could eat. The next morning I quickly reheated the beans and pancetta until they got just a little brown and crisp. I cleared a spot in the same non-stick pan, added a small bit of butter and prepared and egg, over medium. I found the combination very satisfying and tasty. 

Thank you French Fridays with Dorie for keeping me cooking and trying dishes from this wonderful cookbook.

Cumin Infused Olives in Rye Garbanzo Bean Salad with Oranges

I was thrilled to discover this recipe on the "Editor's Picks" list at food52 this week; they even used my photo.  This is what editor Kristen Miglore had to say about my salad.  Here I reworked my rye berry salad from last year to create an entry for the olive and citrus contest.

This salad works with any whole grain and if you’re in a hurry couscous it a great option. I like the olive, cumin, and orange combination as a simple salad before a heavy Mexican, Moroccan, or East African meal. I’ve added that quick salad to whole grains and garbanzo beans for something more substantial. Great on its own for lunch or as a side dish with grilled or roasted meat or fish. And, if you’re wondering, rye has a mild nutty taste but doesn’t taste like rye bread, which gets most of its flavor from caraway seeds.

Cumin Infused Olives in Rye Garbanzo Bean Salad with Oranges
1 cup rye berries or other whole grain
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

¼ cup chopped red onion
½ cup parsley, coarsely chopped
2 oranges

2 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup pitted green olives
2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

2 tsp. mustard

½ tsp. kosher salt
additional salt and pepper to taste

Place the rye berries and salt in a large pot, cover with 2 ½ cups water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 60-90 minutes, until tender and most of the rye has split open. Add water as needed to keep the rye covered.

While rye is cooking prepare dressing. Toast cumin in a dry pan until fragrant, about 30 seconds, add olive oil and olives, sauté 1 minute or so to infuse oil and olives with the cumin. In a small bowl whisk together remaining dressing ingredients and scrap olives, oil, and cumin from pan into bowl, toss to combine (adjusting to your taste). Cover and bring to room temperature until ready to use.

Drain rye well and run under cool water to stop the grains from cooking. Transfer to a bowl; add garbanzo beans, prepared dressing and toss to combine. Chill until the mixture is completely cool, or for up to a day.

Zest one orange into the rye mixture. Peel and section both oranges and add to salad along with the red onions, and parsley. Section the orange over the salad allowing any juice to drain into the salad. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Salted Orange Cardamom Caramels – with or without pistachios or chocolate

You will also find this recipe at the wonderful food52 website and blog. I've added it to the cardamom contest. Check it out and participate, it's lots of fun. I am impressed with the work Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs are doing but what I love most is seeing what the contributing home cooks are creating in their own kitchens.

I love caramel sauce and candy but I’m a bit intimidated by any recipe that requires me to use my candy thermometer.  A strong craving for this combination of flavors sent me to the kitchen despite my fears and I am very pleased with the results.  The pistachios are optional; I don’t think they add much more than a little crunch and color but some of my taste-testers disagree and urged me to leave the option in. A small drizzle of chocolate is also tasty and looks nice but is optional too. Inspired by Emily Luchetti’s Orange-Cardamom Ice Cream (A Passion for Ice Cream, Chronicle Books, 2006) and  adapted from David Lebovitz Salted Butter Caramels (  Avoid Ultra-Pasteurized whipping cream and use cultured butter if possible.

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, divided (I use Maldon)

4 green cardamom pods, crushed

Zest of 1 medium orange

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 cup sugar

about 4 tablespoons, divided, salted butter, cut in small pieces, at room temperature (cultured if available)

½ ounce salted pistachios, chopped (optional)

1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped (optional)

Calibrate you candy thermometer.

Line a 9-inch loaf pan with foil.  For best results, use Reynolds Rapid Release and coat with cooking spray or butter.

Combine cream, 2 tablespoons butter, vanilla, ½ rounded teaspoon sea salt, cardamom and orange zest in a small saucepan heat to just before boiling – small bubbles will be forming around the edges of the pan.  Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes before continuing. Don’t let the cardamom cream cool too much.

Attach your candy thermometer to the side of a heavy bottomed 4-quart saucepan so that the bulb will be submerged. Heat corn syrup and sugar over medium heat; stir carefully until the sugar melts. Once the sugar has melted only stir to avoid hot spots.

Cook the syrup to 310ºF (155ºC).

You may need to tilt the pan to submerge the bulb and get an accurate reading.

Remove from heat and stir in warm cardamom cream, until smooth.

Return to heat and cook to 260F (127C).

Remove pan from heat, take out thermometer, and stir remaining butter, until it’s melted and caramel is smooth.

Pour caramel into the loaf pan and let sit for ten minutes, then sprinkle with rounded 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and pistachios, if using. Set on a rack and completely cooled. You can check this by touching the sides and bottom of the pan. When cool, lift foil and caramel from, carefully remove foil**, and slice caramel with a long, sharp knife into squares or rectangles.

** For chocolate option: melt chocolate in the microwave and using a fork drizzle over the caramel.  Place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes before cutting to allow the chocolate to set.

Wrap caramels individually in waxed paper otherwise they get sticky. David Lebovitz says they’ll keep for about a month but I’ll never know cuz they disappear very quickly around here. 

A Passion for Ice Cream, available on Amazon: Disclosure: Emily is my cousin by marriage and I tested recipes in this book before it was published. In spite of that connection, or because of it, I always reach for Emmy’s books first when making dessert.

I don't have any financial interest in the book.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

FFwD: Dorie Greenspan’s Basque Potato Tortilla or how I learned the truth about my broiler.

Here I am participating in my first French Fridays with Dorie and feeling like a screw up. There is nothing wrong with the recipe just with the cook and her equipment.  I decided this week’s dish would be perfect for dinner because my teenage son is great fan of breakfast for dinner.  Greenspan suggests serving the tortilla with bacon for an American diner meal and I knew my son would love it. The final dish was fine for dinner and very good cold in my lunch the next day but it wasn’t perfect and I know why …

When I try a recipe for the first time I always read carefully through the whole thing once before I shop, again while collecting the ingredients, and one last time before I start cooking. Well, maybe not always. I was in a rush to get dinner on the table and was multitasking. I didn’t read the first paragraph on page 143 carefully enough.  Dorie writes that “the top is almost set – there’ll be a circle of liquid or jiggly egg at the center” but I stopped reading after I saw the word “set”. Finally I figured out that 21 minutes was too long for the eggs to be on the stovetop and checked the recipe one more time.  I had let the eggs go well beyond the suggested 8-10 minutes. Lack of extra ingredients and a hungry teenager forced me to carry on.

This is when I encountered problem number two. My broiler had been pre-heating for a long time, over heated and shut itself off. I didn’t know my oven did this but now I know the truth about my oven’s broiler. The oven was warm because I cooked the bacon in there and I didn’t notice that the broiler was off.  I continually peeked through the window to see if the top had browned and it never did. I finally figured out what was going on but at that point the eggs were very well cooked and I decide to stop and call it dinner. Lesson learned.

I will do better by Dorie next time, I promise.  Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table (available on Amazon) is full of beautiful photos, delicious recipes, and headnotes that make great reading. I encourage you to find out for yourself.

Bon Appetit