This is a recipe in progress that I made for dinner tonight. It came out really good, and I don’t think that I will change anything about it when I make it again, except I might add more Brussels sprouts because I love them. J declared that this was one of the best things I have ever made…a pretty high compliment.
5 slices of bacon
2 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ cups Brussels sprouts
1 celery stalk
¼ cup sherry
1 quart chicken stock
5 small red potatoes
1 tbsp chopped dill
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
¾ cup heavy cream
Cut the bacon into ½ inch pieces and cook over medium heat until crispy, remove the bacon from the pot leaving about a tablespoon of grease. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half and add them to the pot cut side down. Flip them when they are slightly brown. Add the chopped leek and celery and 1 additional tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper. Sautee together for about 2 minutes and add 1/3 cup of sherry. Allow the alcohol to cook off for a minute and add the chicken stock and chopped vegetables. Grate one of the potatoes with a box grater and add to the soup.*
I cooked this together and allowed the liquid to reduce for over an hour.
In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons of softened butter and 2 tablespoons of flour and make a paste (buerre manie’). Stir into the hot liquid and return to a boil. Add the chopped fresh herbs and 2/3 cup of cream.
In an oven proof dish, pour some of the vegetable filling and cover with piecrust. Brush the top with melted butter and bake at 375 until the top is golden brown.
* This is a tip from the Canadian chef Michael Smith of the show Chef at Home. The potato will help thicken the soup. It works best with starchy Russet potatoes but if finely ground I have found it will work with any variety.
We ate these pancakes this morning. I had actually made this raspberry sauce last week for our Easter brunch. It keeps really well for about a week and may be frozen.
1 package frozen raspberries (I use Cascadian Farm Organic)
2 heaping tablespoons Raspberry Jam (I use Smuckers)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons of maple syrup (this will depend on the sweetness of the berries)
Combine in a saucepan over low heat.
It may seem strange to use maple syrup to sweeten berries but I find that the flavors go together really well. I often use maple syrup to improve mediocre strawberries. I use about 1 tsp per pound of fresh berries. I wash the berries and lightly coat them with the syrup. The effect is actually much more subtle than sugar. I generally use Vermont Grade A medium amber syrup.
I posted the recipe for these delicious burritos previously. I had cooked the ground bison and froze it until I was ready to make them. I used whole wheat tortillas (Many’s brand). First, I spread the refried beans on the tortilla, then add the meat and cheddar cheese.
I fold up the tortilla and seal it with some of the refried beans. I crisped up the burrito in a small pan with olive oil. There were no ripe avocados to be had in the store today so we ate them with salsa and sour cream.
Little Phoebe was very interested in the process and hopeful for some bits of meat to fall her way. Her patience paid off as J couldn’t help sharing a tiny bit of his.
We ate this simple soup for dinner tonight. I love Chinese Egg Noodles (Kame is a readily available brand). I make a few variations of this. Sometimes, I add a beaten egg to the boiling pot or bok choi and bean sprouts.
1 quart chicken stock
2 bundles of egg noodles
8 raw shrimp (fresh or frozen)
1/8 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp hoison sauce
1 tbsp chopped scallions
Boil the chicken stock and add the noodles. When the noodles are almost fully cooked, add the shrimp. When the shrimp turn pink, add the sauces and scallions.
I served this with a few extra scallions on top.
Around these parts, we are very fond of the Godiva Dark Chocolate Raspberry Bars. They were the inspiration for these Easter cupcakes. I used an adjusted recipe for Lemon Cake from the Barefoot Contessa as the basis for this recipe.
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup of finely crush freeze dried raspberries*
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*I use the Simply Fruit brand. It can be found at health food stores. I have also made cupcakes using Simply Strawberries. I place the berries in a ziplock plastic bag and crush them to a powder.
Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, the key to great cakes is beating the butter and sugar until the mixture’s until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed add the eggs, (break the eggs into a dish before adding to the batter to avoid a bad egg or shells in the batter) 1 at a time. Sift together the flour, to make sure there are no lumps, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Separately, combine 1 tablespoon lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with the flour.
Line baking tins with paper liners and evenly divide the batter. I made 28 cupcakes from this recipe.
For the ganache:
Melt 8oz bittersweet chocolate over a double boiler (Boil water and place a heat proof bowl above it). Stir in heavy cream (about ½ cup) until the mixture is shiny and the chocolate is fully melted.
I served them with a fresh raspberry on top as shown in my new super cool banner designed by J. Although it is decadent to the point of obscenity, I ate mine with a dollop of whipped cream. It cuts the bitterness of the chocolate, and I highly recommend it.
I haven’t had a baking disappointment in a long time. Well, this was a big disappointment considering the amount of time and ingredients it used. I used the Barefoot Contessa recipe. They didn’t rise the way that they were supposed to, and I am not sure why. Maybe the hot water was too hot? Maybe the yeast was bad? On the Food Network site, the recipe says to add the butter after it rises. I added it before as indicated in her book. Maybe this was the problem?
I baked one of the loaves anyway, and it actually tasted pretty good but the texture was too cake like.
This is my Mom’s recipe onion soup recipe with a few small changes. I love this soup, and it is really simple to make. I really need to buy oven proof bowls to make it properly. I use organic beef broth because the conventional often has weird things added to it. You could also make your own beef stock; although, I have never done it.
6 medium yellow onions
1/2 to 3/4 cup of good quality sherry
2 cartons of organic beef broth
2 Bay leaves
1/2 cup of water
salt and pepper
For the top:
Bread slices, Swiss or Gruyere cheese, freshly grated Parmesan
Heat 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large soup pot. Cut onions in half and then slice them lengthwise. Sautee them over medium heat until they are translucent and have begun to carmelize. Add 1 cup of sherry, turn heat to high and allow some of the alcohol to burn off, then add 2 quarts of beef broth. Add one or two bay leaves, fresh ground pepper and 2 tsp of salt. Bring to a simmer. Allow the soup to simmer on low for a few hours. Taste the soup for salt and pepper before serving.
Toast slices of bread, one per bowl. Grate the cheeses. If you have oven proof bowls, you can put the soup in the bowls, add the bread, top with cheese and broils until the cheese melts. If you don’t, you can top the toast with cheese and melt it in the toaster. I then just sink the cheesy bread down into the bowl of hot soup. It is not quite the same as the restaurant effect but it it still pretty wonderful.
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I used Martha Stewart’s trusty pie crust recipe listed below to make these little cherry pies. I had frozen organic black cherries that I used for the filling. You do not need to defrost them before baking just be careful to drain off as much liquid as possible as you spoon the filling into the pastry.
For the Filling:
1 cup of cherries
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons of sugar (this will vary based on the sweetness of the cherries)
1 teaspoon flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Combine in a bowl; I cut the cherries in half at this stage
I used half the recipe for pate brisee and cut the dough into fourths. Allow it to chill for at least 1/2 an hour.
Roll each quarter of the dough into a rectangle at least 5 inches wide. Transfer to a lined (parchment or silpat) baking sheet. Fill the center with cherries. Try to drain off most of the liquid before you spoon it on to the dough. Fold into a triangle and seal the edges carefully. Chill the triangles on the baking sheet as you are rolling out the rest of the dough.
Brush each triangle with egg wash (egg and water) and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Bake at 350 until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Note: they will probably leak a bit when baked. If the liquid burns just trim the edges.
When they are cool, you can top then with some confectioners sugar.
I love having little individual deserts. You could make this recipe using any fruit. I have also made savory versions just leaving out the sugar on top.