Sunday, March 29, 2015
I'll admit it. Ted and I enjoy a little cocktail on occasion. And if you're going to enjoy a little cocktail, you'll need a little nibble to go with it. This recipe for Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts is the perfect accompaniment, not only for cocktail hour, but at any hour.
Feel free to use any combination of nuts you like. Ina went for a fairly traditional mix, as did I, but I'm not all that creative. Really, anything goes. Anyway you do it, the cocktails will taste even better with a handful or two of these little gems.
Recipe: Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts
3 cups whole roasted unsalted cashews (14 ounces)
2 cups whole walnut halves (7 ounces)
2 cups whole pecan halves (7 ounces)
1/2 cup whole almonds (3 ounces)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder
4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a sheet pan generously with vegetable oil. Combine the cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds, 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, the maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice and chipotle powder on the sheet pan; toss to coat. Add 2 tablespoons of the rosemary and 2 teaspoons of salt and toss again.
Spread the nuts in one layer. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring twice with a large metal spatula, until the nuts are glazed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with 2 more teaspoons of salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary. Toss well and set aside at room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking as they cool. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm or cool completely and store in airtight containers at room temperature for up to a week.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Generally speaking, I think of stew as a winter dish. It's comforting, stick-to-the-ribs kind of fare, perfect for cold blustery evenings. In fact, usually around this time of the year, I retire my dutch oven in favor of my grill pan and give up on the whole stew thing.
The funny thing is that even as the chill goes out of the air, I still enjoy a good braised dish. Enter David Tanis and his St. Patrick's Day inspired Irish Stew. Made with lamb, it's just perfect for these very early days of spring. Lamb is lighter than beef and this stew has a decidedly springier vibe.
Be prepared. This recipe makes an absolute ton of stew so either (1) invite a crowd, (2) cut the recipe
in half, or (3) plan for lots of leftovers.
Recipe: Irish Stew
David Tanis, New York Times, March 11, 2015
3 pounds lamb shoulder cut in 2-inch chunks (or use thick shoulder chops)
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds onions (about 6 medium), cut in wedges
1 pound carrots (about 6 medium), cut in 3-inch lengths
4 cups chicken, veal or beef broth (or water)
1 large sprig thyme
3 pounds russet potatoes (about 12 small), peeled and halved, or cut in 2-inch thick slices
Pat lamb dry and season well with salt and pepper. Put oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Brown meat on all sides, working in batches.
Set meat aside and add onions and carrots to pot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook vegetables, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Return meat to pot, add broth and bring to a simmer. Put in thyme sprig and arrange potatoes on top (it’s fine if potatoes are not completely submerged). Season potatoes, cover pot and transfer to oven.
Bake for about 1 hour, until lamb is quite tender when probed with a skewer or paring knife. Remove fat from top of broth. Ladle stew into shallow bowls and serve.
Alternatively, cook stew on stovetop instead of baking; keep covered at a gentle simmer for about 1 hour. For a thicker stew, crush a few of the potatoes from the stew and simmer in broth, or thicken with a slurry of flour and water (about 4 tablespoons flour).
Monday, March 23, 2015
I am a lover of all things baked. I am particularly fond of breakfast pastries, but let's be honest, muffins, scones, and coffeecakes are generally not the most virtuous way to start out the day. In fact, usually I try to maintain my careful eating until at least mid-afternoon. No sense in starting out in the hole. That's what I always say. Better to dig the hole around 4:00 p.m.
|I was out of currants so I used gold raisins.|
|Add the cold butter and then the liquids.|
|Finish off with an egg yolk wash and a sprinkle of turbaned sugar, and then into the oven.|
This brings me to today's recipe for Flour Bakery's Classic Currant Scones. My friend Mona reminded me of these when we were catching up the other day. Flour Bakery is the most divine bakery ever. If you're in Boston anytime soon, you really must stop in to sample some of Joanne Chang's goodies.
These scones are light, airy, rich, and so easy to make. The key to success is to keep all of the ingredients as cold as possible. Make sure to cut up your butter and combine the egg, buttermilk, and creme fraiche and then return everything to the refrigerator until the moment you're ready to add each one to the flour mixture.
You can prep these scones and then refrigerate them unbaked until you're ready to bake them off just before serving. Preheat the oven and then pop the tray into the oven directly from the refrigerator. The heat from the oven and the cold butter in the scones will cause steam which, in turn, will make the lightest scones ever.
Recipe: Flour Bakery's Classic Currant Scones
Makes 8 scones
Note: I actually cut the scones and baked them off that way instead of scoring the dough and cutting afterwards. They bake much faster, which is key when you're really in the mood for a scone. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown.
Extra Note: I was out of currants so I used golden raisins.
2 3/4 cups (385 grams) unbleached all-purpose f lour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup (70 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (80 grams) dried currants
1/2 cup (1 stick, 114 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 to 10 pieces
1/2 cup (120 grams) cold nonfat buttermilk
1/2 cup (120 grams) cold crème fraîche
1 cold egg
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons sanding sugar, pearl sugar, or granulated sugar
Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer), mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar, and currants on low speed for 10 to 15 seconds, or until combined. Scatter the butter over the top and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until the butter
is somewhat broken down and grape-size pieces are still visible.
In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, crème fraîche, and whole egg until thoroughly mixed. On low speed, pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour-butter mixture and beat for 20 to 30 seconds, or just until the dough comes together. There will still be a little loose flour mixture at the bottom of the bowl.
Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. Gather and lift the dough with your hands and turn it over in the bowl, so that it starts to pick up the loose flour at the bottom. Turn over the dough several times until all of the loose flour is mixed in.
Dump the dough onto a baking sheet and pat it into an 8-inch circle about 1 inch thick. Brush the egg yolk evenly over the entire top of the dough circle. Sprinkle the sanding sugar evenly over the top, then cut the circle into 8 wedges, as if cutting a pizza. (At this point, the unbaked scones can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. Proceed as directed, baking directly from the freezer and adding 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time.)
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the entire circle is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes, then cut into the prescored wedges (the cuts will be visible but will have baked together) and serve.
The scones taste best on the day they are baked, but they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you keep them for longer than 1 day, refresh them in a 300-degree-F oven for 4 to 5 minutes. Or, you can freeze them, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 1 week; reheat, directly from the freezer, in a 300-degree-F oven for 8 to 10 minutes.