Thursday, October 25, 2012

Roasted Grapes with Thyme, Ricotta & Grilled Bread

Roasted Grapes with Thyme, Fresh Ricotta & Grilled Bread
from Alexandra's Kitchen

grapes
olive oil
kosher salt
fresh thyme sprigs
good rustic bread, sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
fresh ricotta (used marscapone cheese)

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Spread grapes onto a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Lay thyme leaves over top. Toss all together gently with your hands. Place pan in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until grapes just begin to burst.

Meanwhile, heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Brush the bread with olive oil. Grill until nice and toasty.

Assemble the open-faced sandwiches: Spread cheese over bread. Top with roasted grapes. Discard thyme sprigs.

Spaghetti with Broccoli Cream Pesto

Spaghetti with Broccoli Cream Pesto
from Deb at smittenkitchen.com


1/2 pound broccoli
1/2 pound dried spaghetti
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (or, more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Freshly ground black pepper or pinches of red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons heavy cream
A heap of grated parmesan (about 1/2 cup), to serve

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for your pasta.

Remove broccoli florets from stems and chop into medium florets. Peel stems with a vegetable peeler (I do this so that they cook quickly, plus, I prefer their taste without the tough stem skin.) and slice them into 1/2-inch segments.

Use your pot of future pasta water to steam (by suspending a mesh strainer over your pasta pot and covering it with a lid for 5 to 6 minutes)) or par-boil (for 3 to 5 minutes) your broccoli florets and stems until just tender, then drain if needed and set them aside.

Add pasta to water and cook until al dente, or about one minute less than fully cooked. Before draining pasta, reserve a cup of pasta cooking water and set it aside. Drain pasta.

Wipe out pot so that you can use it again. In the bottom of pot, melt butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Add onion and reduce to medium-low, sauteing it until tender, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another two minutes. Add steamed broccoli, salt and red or black pepper and turn the heat back up to medium-high, cooking it with the onion and garlic for a few additional minutes. Pour cream over mixture and let cook for 30 seconds.

Transfer broccoli mixture and all of its creamy bits at the bottom of the pan to a blender or food processor and blend in short bursts until it’s finely chopped and a little sauce. Don’t worry if it looks dry; that reserved pasta water will give it the sauciness it needs in a minute.

Add the broccoli sauce back to the pot with the drained spaghetti and a splash or two of the reserved pasta water. Cook over medium-high for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing the mixture so that it evenly coats. Add more pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding more salt or pepper, and scoop into a serving bowl. Shower spaghetti with grated parmesan and dig in.

Additionally, roasted broccoli florets can be added to the finished pasta.

Do ahead: I make a large batch of the sauce and keep it in the fridge for several days, boiling a little pasta each day for lunch when I make it for Jacob.
Cauliflower and Potato Gratin
adapted from Luisa Weiss

1 (1 1/4-pound) head of cauliflower
1/2 pound small boiling potatoes 
salt
1/4 cup butter
1 leek, white part only, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons crème fraiche or sour cream
3/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese, divided (about 1 1/2 ounces)
Freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the dried base and green leaves from the cauliflower and discard them. Separate the head into florets about the size of walnuts and chop the stem into similar size pieces. Cut the potatoes into similar-size pieces as well.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high head and salt liberally. Cook until the cauliflower pieces are tender enough to be easily cut with a spoon, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While the cauliflower is cooking, make a cheese sauce. In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and stir in the leeks. Cook until they are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and whisk to make a smooth paste. Add the milk a little at a time, cooking until it thickens. When all the milk has been added, reduce the heat and cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the crème fraîche, then one-half cup of the Gruyère, 1 teaspoon salt and a generous grating of nutmeg (a little less than one-quarter teaspoon). Whisk until smooth, then taste and add more salt or nutmeg if necessary.

Butter a 6-cup gratin dish and spread a thin layer of the sauce evenly over the bottom. Arrange the cooked cauliflower and potatoes in an even layer over the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce over the top and spread evenly with the back of a spoon. It should come about three-quarters of the way up the vegetables.

Scatter bread crumbs evenly over top and then scatter the remaining one-quarter cup Gruyère over that. Bake until the gratin is bubbling and the top is browned, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish

No Bake Chocolate Cake

 No Bake Chocolate Cake
from Heidi Swanson

butter, to grease pan
8 ounces (225g) 70% chocolate, chopped
1 cup (8 fl oz) heavy cream
1 teaspoon allspice (optional)
2 teaspoons finely ground espresso (optional)
1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt
cocoa powder, to serve

Lightly butter a little loaf pan. Line with parchment paper and set aside.

Barely melt the chocolate in a double boiler over gentle heat.

In a separate medium pan heat the cream over gentle heat. Stir in the allspice and the espresso, if using. When the cream is very warm/hot to the touch, remove from heat and stir in the salt.

Pour the chocolate into the cream very slowly and steadily. Stir until everything comes together smoothly. Make sure the components aren't at all separate. Pour into the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled throughout, a few hours, or overnight.

When ready to serve, remove from the pan, let set at room temperature for ten minutes or so, dust with a bit of cocoa powder, and slice. Alternately, you can slice and serve from the pan.

Serves 12.

honey mustard dressing

Honey Mustard Dressing
from some kind folks in Covelo, CA

1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup mustard

Mix ingredients.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

corn souffle

Corn Souffle
from Shosh

1 can whole corn, drained
1 can creamed corn
2 eggs, beaten
1 stick of butter, melted
1 cup sour cream
8 ounces grated Swiss cheese
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix

Mix ingredients in the order above. Pour mixture into a souffle dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake covered for 45 to 50 min. Uncover and continue baking for 20 minutes until the top is brown.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

cauliflower with almonds, capers, and raisins

Cauliflower With Almonds, Capers and Raisins
from Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern

1 head cauliflower, trimmed of leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons fresh soft bread crumbs
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons whole almonds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon finely sliced chives

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut cauliflower from top to bottom in 1-inch slices. Place a large ovenproof skillet over low heat and add one tablespoon butter. When it has melted, add bread crumbs and toss until toasted and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer crumbs to a plate and wipe out pan.

2. Return pan to medium heat and add one teaspoon olive oil. Add almonds and toss until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer almonds to a plate, let cool, and cut each almond into three pieces; set aside.

3. Wipe out pan and return to medium heat. Add remaining one tablespoon olive oil and cauliflower slices. Sauté until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer pan to oven and roast until tender, about 12 minutes. (I had to brown my cauliflower in batches, not having enough surface area in my pan, but tossed everything back in to roast it.) Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter and add raisins, vinegar and 1 tablespoon water. Simmer until raisins are plump and soft, about 5 minutes; drain and set aside. In a small bowl, combine almonds, capers, raisins, parsley, tarragon and chives. Season with salt and pepper and toss to mix.

4. Arrange roasted cauliflower on a serving platter. Spoon almond-herb mixture evenly on top and sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs. Serve immediately.

Serves 2.