Archive | October, 2010

Fright Night

31 Oct

Heeeeeere’s dinner!

After a month’s worth of Halloween recipe posting, we unveil our Halloween night boofet of horrordoeuvres:

Japanese Bat Wings and Steak Bites with Bloody Mary Dipping Sauce.

Perfect for our horror movie night.

We’re lazy, so we’re buying Cost-co wings and just baking them with the sauce, which is a childhood fave.

Japanese Chicken Wings
The Best of Bridge
Great for crowds and kids! Tastes good warmed up if there’s any left.

3 lbs. chicken wings, tips removed 1.5 kg
1 egg
1/3 cup flour 75ml
1 cup butter 250ml (or half butter and half oil.)
Sauce:
3 Tbsp. soy sauce 45 ml
3 Tbsp. water 45ml
1 cup white sugar 250ml
1/2 cup vinegar 125ml

Cut wings in half. Dip in slightly beaten egg and then in flour. Fry in butter until deep brown and crisp. Place in shallow roasting pan. Mix all sauce ingredients together and pour over chicken wings. Bake at 350 F (180C) for 1/2 hour.
Baste wings with sauce during cooking.


Steak Bites with Bloody Mary Dipping Sauce

Recipe Rachael Ray
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup vodka
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1 cup tomato sauce
1 rounded tablespoon prepared horseradish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/3 pounds beef sirloin cut into large bite-sized pieces, about 1-inch squares
Steak seasoning blend or coarse salt and black pepper
6 to 8-inch bamboo skewers
Directions
Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and onions and saute 5 minutes. Add vodka and boil to reduce by half. Add Worcestershire, hot sauce, tomato sauce and horseradish. Stir to combine the dipping sauce and return the sauce to a simmer. Add salt and pepper and adjust seasonings.

Heat nonstick skillet over high heat. Coat meat bites lightly in oil. Season with steak seasoning blend or salt and pepper, to taste. Cook the meat until caramelized all over, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer dipping sauce to a small dish and place at the center of a serving platter. Surround the dip with meat bites and set several bamboo “stakes” or skewers alongside meat.

Fusilli, you crazy bastard…

29 Oct

We always crack up when we think of this 1994 New Yorker cartoon by Charles Barsotti. So we thought it would be a good idea to use fusilli for The Mister’s first crack at homemade mac and cheese. A little aged white cheddar, a little asiago, some fried onions and crumbled bacon et voila:

Just look at him. In the kitchen. Trying. This is going to be easy!
We used this recipe but remain confused about the ideal cheese/milk ratio, as all of our hoarded mac and cheese recipes are different.

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups whole or 2 percent milk
3 cups white cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup or more shredded asiago
pinch of nutmeg, but wish we’d used 1/2 tsp
500 grams twisty pasta

Heat a medium, deep skillet over medium heat. Add butter, when bubbly, add flour and combine. Gently cook, whisking flour and butter together, until smooth and flour has had a chance to cook, about three minutes.

Slowly add milk while continuing to whisk. Gently bring milk to a bubble while stirring frequently. Allow the milk to thicken a bit, then stir in two cups of shredded cheddar cheese a handful at a time.

Season sauce with nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Taste and add a little salt, if you like. Add cooked pasta to sauce and coat completely by turning over and over in the cheese sauce.

Transfer to a baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Place baking dish under a hot broiler and brown the cheddar cheese on top.

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“This vibrant pasta, tossed with beet greens and creamy goat cheese, is an ode to Charles Barsotti’s 1994 New Yorker cartoon of a rigatoni noodle on the phone to a friend, exclaiming, “Fusilli, you crazy bastard!” Tarry Lodge chef Andy Nusser says, ‘Mario [Batali] and I saw the cartoon at the same time. It became the punch line to every joke.’”

Fusilli Alla Crazy Bastard
Recipe by Andy Nusser
1/2 cup walnut halves
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fusilli pasta
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 pound beet greens, rinsed and coarsely chopped
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1/2 pound soft goat cheese, thickly sliced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Directions
1.Preheat the oven to 350°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the walnuts for 7 minutes, until lightly browned; let cool slightly. Coarsely chop and transfer to a bowl.
2.Raise the oven temperature to 450°. On the rimmed baking sheet, toss the cherry tomatoes with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for about 10 minutes, until browned in spots.
3.In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fusilli. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, 2 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes, beet greens and crushed red pepper and cook, crushing the tomatoes slightly, until the greens are just wilted, 3 minutes.
4.Drain the fusilli, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta, the reserved cooking water and the sliced goat cheese to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, tossing to coat the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a bowl, garnish with the chopped toasted walnuts, top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve immediately.

Witchy finger food…

26 Oct

We’re getting to the end of our Halloween recipe series. We may have overdone it… we’re a little indecisive about our upcoming Halloween night dinner. Too many choices!

CHEESE AND OLIVE FINGERS
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups aged Cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 large egg white
10 pitted black or green olives, halved
Add selected to shopping list Add all ingredients to shopping list
Method:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Beat the butter and cheese until wellcombined. Mix in the flour, mustard, cayenne and egg white just until a dough forms. Take about 2 Tbsp. of the mixture and shape into a finger. Make a knuckle shape in the centre and slash a few wrinkles into the dough. Place on a non-stick or parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Make an indentation at the end of each finger. Place a half olive into each indentation. Bake 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom and cooked through.

SPIDER WEB PARTY DIP
thifty foods
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, plus some to sprinkle around the outer edges of the dip
1/3 cup finely chopped red pepper
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 250g pkg. hard cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup salsa
1 ripe, medium avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. sour cream
Pinch sugar
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Method:
Sprinke the 1 cup grated cheese, red pepper and green onion into the bottom of a shallow sided dish about 10-inches wide. Place the cream cheese and salsa in a food processor; blend until almost smooth. Spoon cream cheese mixture into the serving dish; spread it out with a spatula until it touches the sides. Place the avocado, lime juice, the 1/2 cup sour cream and sugar in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Carefully spread over the cream cheese ixture, leaving 1/2-inch border. Place the 2 Tbsp. sour cream in a piping bag fitted with a small, plain tip. Pipe the sour cream in a spiral shape over the avocado mixture. Drag the tip of a sharp knife from the centre of the spiral to the edge of the dip. Wipe the knife clean. Move about 1-inch to the left or right and repeat the process. Continue until the whole dip looks like a spider web. Sprinkle outer edges of the dip with remaining cheese.

Chicken in garlic sour cream

26 Oct

We’re obsessed with roasted garlic — lots and lots of roasted garlic — for our Halloween food.

We’re thinking of adding it to this offering from Romania — Dracula’s homeland.

CHICKEN IN GARLIC SOUR CREAM
From “The Best Recipes in the World” by Mark Bittman
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons butter or extra-virgin olive oil
1 chicken, 3-4 pounds, cut into serving pieces, or 2 1/2-3 pounds chicken parts, trimmed of excess fat
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh scallion, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill leaves, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup sour cream

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, put the butter in a deep skillet or flameproof casserole, preferably non-stick. Turn the heat to medium high and wait a minute or so, until the butter melts. Add the chicken, skin side down, and brown it well, rotating and turning the pieces as necessary, 20-25 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside. Drain all but 3 tablespoons of the fat.

Reduce the heat to medium low and add the garlic, scallion and dill. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is softened and the mixture fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the potatoes to the skillet and stir to coat with the herb mixture; add the chicken pieces and stir again. Turn the heat to low and stir in the sour cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer very gently for another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Garnish with scallion and dill and serve.

A Howling

18 Oct


A blast from Halloween past: Our first newspaper food feature.

We featured the classic Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic (of course), and long strands of black spaghetti, twisted into nests with camembert and pumpkin seed pesto.

To start, the ever ghoulish looking tapenade on toast points.

To end, Heart of Darkness Molten Chocolate Cakes, served with flaming shots of Sambuca.
__________________________________
For the gothic gourmet, Halloween holds much more than jack-o’-lantern cheese squares grinning up from hamburger patties.

There are many books and countless websites devoted to revolting hobgoblin fare. Worm and dirt spaghetti, brain Jell-O and witchy chicken fingers dipped in ketchup blood are macabre mainstays for wee ghosts and goblins.

For the rest of us, it’s easy to grow weary of last-minute costumes thrown together for keg-fuelled kitchen parties. Somewhere along the way, we’ve outgrown the buffet table gore of hard-boiled egg eyeballs and kitty litter cake.

For those who still adore the night of the undead, there are grown-up ways to celebrate the spirit of the occasion.

This year, it’s time for a sophisticated Halloween howler; a dinner party that’s light on dollar store gags and dripping with so much style, it’s scary.

Halloween menus aspire to reach festive heights, but disappointingly turn out to be average weekday food decorated with spider cutouts or disguised in gross-out names — hence Vomit Vinegarette or any ground beef casserole with olives from a can.

For a cupcake- and candy-fuelled holiday eaten up by kids, the real essence of Halloween is decidedly grown up and nightmarish. You’d better have a drink.

The menu here is representative of the true, dark spirit of Halloween. How better to ward off vampires than by serving chicken with 40 cloves of garlic? Black pasta with pumpkin seed pesto can only be truly appreciated on Oct. 31.

With planning and advance preparation, this Halloween dinner can be dead easy. Heart of Darkness Molten Cakes and Pumpkin Seed Pesto can be prepared days in advance. Store-bought tapenade cuts another corner.

Paired with classic horror films, such as Night of the Living Dead or The Shining, and morning-after garlic breath, this is sure to be one scary night.

Squid ink turns this spaghetti darker than the inside of a coffin. We found ours at Mercato Italian market.

Make the pesto a few days ahead to save time.

Pumpkin Seed Pesto
1 bunch fresh basil

1 small clove garlic

1/2 cup (125 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup (75 mL) toasted pumpkin seeds, shelled

1/4 cup (50 mL) grated Parmigiano cheese

1 pinch nutmeg, optional

salt and pepper, to taste

In a food processor, whirl basil, pumpkin seeds, cheese, seasonings and garlic together. Add oil in a slow stream.

Black Pasta Nests
Boil 1/2 package of squid ink pasta until al dente, then drain. Return pasta to pot and stir in half of a small round of brie or camembert, rind removed.

Add 1/4 cup (50 mL) of pesto. Stir until pesto and cheese have coated the pasta.

Twirl pasta around a large fork and carefully place in a muffin tin. Repeat until you have six.

Let stand a minute or two until noodle nests hold their shape. Use two forks or spoons to remove and place on warmed serving plates. Top with another dollop of pesto and sprinkle with extra pumpkin seeds. Serves 6.

Jack’o’lantern Patties

15 Oct

Halloween inspiration from a silly 80s Seventeen recipe page for babysitter’s supper of jack’o’lantern carved cheese slices melted on Lipton Onion Soup burgers.

For a lark — and to celebrate Halloween early — we are going to surprise a friend by putting these goofy cheeseburgers on the grill. But instead of the old dried onion soup mix, we may opt for turkey burgers with chipotle avocado mayo or maybe these turkey cheddar sliders.

Or something like the amazing burger we just had: a pork and wild boar patty with roasted apple and garlic jam, Quebec Oka, a roasted garlic & grainy mustard mayo on an onion bun. *loves*

I Want Candy

15 Oct

Half the fun of Halloween is getting your hands on the goopy pumpkin seed guts. Nothing transports you back to childhood like the aroma of roasting pumpkin seeds. A classic happy memory.

Here are two versions of pumpkin seed candy. The first, a sophisticated cumin-scented version. The second, good old Martha’s bon bon style.

PUMPKIN SEED BRITTLE
Adapted from a recipe by Guy Reuge
This recipe makes a beautiful brittle that tastes as good as it looks. You can omit the cumin, but you’ll lose the slight smoky note that provides an ideal contrast to the sugar. Chef Guy Reuge served the brittle at the Beard House as one of the mignardises, alongside macaroons and candied orange peel.

1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 3/4 cups shelled pumpkin seeds, also know as pepitas

Generously grease a cookie sheet or cover it with a silicone mat. Set aside.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, and water in a medium pot. Stir the sugar with your fingers to moisten so that no lumps remain. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it caramelizes, about 15 minutes. It’s done when it’s medium brown; be careful not to let it burn, which can happen in the blink of an eye.

Take the pot off the burner and immediately whisk in the salt, baking soda, and cumin. Quickly add the pumpkin seeds and stir until they are coated with the liquid caramel. If the mixture hardens too fast to allow you to stir in the seeds, return the pot to the heat for several seconds. Working quickly, pour the mixture on the baking sheet you prepared earlier and spread it with a rolling pin to about 1/4-inch thickness.

When the brittle has cooled and hardened, break it into pieces. Store it in an airtight container.
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PUMPKIN SEED CANDY
Martha Stewart
Makes 30 pieces.

1 cup hulled pepitas
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup good quality honey
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons melted for brushing

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pepitas; toast, stirring constantly until seeds pop and become slightly golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

Place sugar and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, about 3 minutes. Add pepitas, and continue cooking until temperature registers 285 degrees.on a candy thermometer, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in cold butter.

Let the mixture cool to 240 degrees. about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, brush the inside of fifteen 1-inch-diameter black paper cups with melted butter, reserving 1 tablespoon. Spoon a scant tablespoon of the honey mixture into each cup. Brush a clean work surface with the remaining butter, and spoon the remaining honey mixture on it so mixture will continue to cool.

When remaining candy is stiff and cool enough to handle, about 6 minutes, cut into 3/4-inch pieces with a greased knife. Put one piece of candy in center of each of fifteen 4-by-4-inch pieces of orange cellophane wrap, gather cellophane at the top, and secure with a twist of a 4 1/2-inch piece of floral wire. Wrap the ends of floral wire around a skewer to form tendrils.

OCD

13 Oct

Nerd alert: how cute is this menu planner?

We’re not trying to get our OCD on, but we know we eat healthier and spend less money when we plan the bejeebus out of something.

Heart Beet Pate

12 Oct

From Mark Bittman’s twitter:

“Try boiling beets, then peeling and processing them smooth with goat cheese (and seasoning). Shocking purple beet pate. So good.”

We’ve been looking for an interesting filling for chicken breasts coated with crushed pumpkin seeds and bread crumbs.

We think we’ve just found it: how good would that beet/goat cheese mix look oozing from the chicken? Add some chives, some fresh mint, a squeeze of lemon.

“It’s alive!”

We’ve also been hoarding an overly complex Emeril recipe for “vampire chicken with blood braise.” We just can’t commit to the recipe, but we’re interested in the sauce to pour over garlic chicken:

In saucepan, combine 2 cups of red wine, 3/4 cup beet liquid, 1/2 cup cream, and 1 tbsp Dijon and reduce by 1/2, about 15 minutes. Stir in 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Taking it even further, how about this amazing looking creamy roasted garlic and beet sauce for pasta? Gorgeous!
You have to click on these pics. We’re smitten!

ROASTED BEET, GARLIC AND GOAT CHEESE SAUCE FOR PASTA
from burprecipes.blogspot.com

6 medium beets, roasted and peeled*
3-4 large cloves garlic, roasted*
2 T olive oil (or to taste)
1 T lemon juice
4 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled
8 oz pasta
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

Cook pasta according to package instructions.

Whizz beats and garlic in the blender until a rough paste forms. Add olive oil until well blended. If using already roasted beets, warm the sauce over a medium low flame. Add goat cheese and stir to combine. Add lemon juice and salt & pepper to taste. Toss sauce with cooked pasta and top with fresh basil.

Serve.

*To roast beets & garlic: Wrap each beet in a sheet of aluminum foil and place onto a large sheet pan. Wrap heads of garlic the same way. Roast beets and garlic together in a 400º oven for about 40 minutes. Check for done-ness. Remove garlic when soft to the touch. Remove bets when they can be pierced easily with a fork. Continue cooking for an hour or more, until beets are thoroughly cooked.

Molten lava

12 Oct

This is more autumn than Halloween, but it would make a great dinner before a movie night.

Fondue dippers can include cooked chicken and apple sausages, chorizo, cubed ham, or mini smokies; sliced baguette or black bread, radishes, roasted shallots, roasted mushrooms or small fingerlings or baby potatoes, pears, apples, or pretzels. Cornichon are a must.

Remember not to drink anything too cold, and no guzzling water: that cheese will turn into a cannonball inside your tummy!

This is very rich and best shared with a small crowd.

CHEDDAR AND HARD CIDER FONDUE
From Food Network Kitchens

1 (12-ounce) bottle hard cider
3/4 cup chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 pound Gruyere, grated
1/2 pound sharp Vermont or New York yellow cheddar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt
1 tablespoon Bourbon, whiskey or apple jack, optional

Fondue Dippers:
Directions
Heat cider, broth, Worcestershire, and garlic in a medium pot over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Toss the cheeses together in a medium bowl. Sift the corn starch over the cheese, and toss to coat lightly.

Using a wooden spoon, sprinkle some cheese mixture into the warm liquid and continue to stir in small amounts of cheese until it is all incorporated and the fondue is smooth and melted, about 15 minutes. Stir in cayenne, salt and Bourbon, if using.

Transfer to a fondue pot or double boiler and serve with desired dippers.

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