Archive | March, 2010

Touch my monkey…

12 Mar

Call it what you will — bubble loaf, pull-aparts, monkey bread — we’re ape for the stuff…


Some say monkey bread evolved from Parker House rolls. Others attribute its creation to silent film actress ZaSu Pitts in the ’40s. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

The sweet or savory Eisenhower-era snack has had the Betty Crocker cinnamon sugar, nut and maraschino cherry treatment, Neiman Marcus’s strawberry butter, Nancy Reagan’s buttery brioche with jam smears, and Paula Deen’s hidden cream cheese cubes, thus evolving it to gorilla bread status.

We also like the idea of orange peel and cardamom (1 tbsp peel to 1/2 cup brown sugar) and croissant dough or puff pastry studded with dark chocolate chunks. And of course, browned butter would send it all over the top.

But we also crave sea salt and olive oil flecked with minced garlic and thyme, dill or parsley or rosemary and oregano. Parmesan, onion, and poppy seed or bacon, cheddar, green peppers, and sweet onion.

Our obsession knows no bounds. We love it sharing it for winter brunch, apres ski, holiday tables or weeknight spaghetti dinners.

Now, we are obsessed with the idea of using muffin tins or mini cocottes to make single servings.

Yes, there are cheats. Our first childhood version involved refrigerated biscuit dough. Cindy Crawford used two loaves of frozen bread dough, a stick of butter, two cups sugar and two tablespoons of cinnamon on Good Morning America.

We are way too intimidated to try Gourmet magazine’s 1941 English jam bag pudding. And yet, we continue to hoard the recipe. Typical.

But Smitten Kitchen’s version of Cook’s Illustrated looks sublime. Click the link to see the awesomeness:

Monkey Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, divided (2 tablespoons softened, 2 tablespoons melted)
1 cup milk, warm (around 110 degrees)
1/3 cup water, warm (also around 110 degrees)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 package or 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise, instant or bread machine yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
2 teaspoons table salt

Brown Sugar Coating
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick or 4 ounces), mleted

Cream Cheese Glaze
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus extra if needed
2 tablespoons milk, plus extra if needed
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Get oven and pan ready: Adjust oven rack to medium-low position and heat oven to 200°F. When oven reaches 200, turn it off. Butter Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set aside.

Make dough: In large measuring cup, mix together milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast.

To proceed with a stand mixer, mix flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. (The dough should be sticky but if it is too wet to come together into anything cohesive, add an additional 2 tablespoons flour.) Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, round ball.

To proceed by hand, mix flour and salt in large bowl. Make well in flour, then add milk mixture to well. Using wooden spoon, stir until dough becomes shaggy and is difficult to stir. Turn out onto lightly floured work surface and begin to knead, incorporating shaggy scraps back into dough. Knead until dough is smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes. Shape into taut ball and proceed as directed.

Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking spray or a tablespoon of neutral oil. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with more cooking spray or oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in warm oven until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes.

Make brown sugar coating: Place melted butter in one bowl. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a second one.

Form the bread: Flip dough out onto floured surface and gently pat into an 8-inch square. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut dough into 64 pieces. I found it helpful to immediately separate them from the rest of the “grid” or they quickly reformed a big doughy square in 64 parts.

Roll each piece of dough into ball. Working one at a time, dip balls in melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into bowl. (I found a fork to be helpful for this process.) Roll in brown sugar mixture, then layer balls in Bundt pan, staggering seams (something I didn’t do, but should have) where dough balls meet as you build layers.

Cover Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in turned-off oven until dough balls are puffy and have risen 1 to 2 inches from top of pan, 50 to 70 minutes.

Bake bread: Remove pan from oven and heat oven to 350°F. Unwrap pan and bake until top is deep brown and caramel might begin to bubble around edges, 30 to 35 minutes. (The reason for the “might” is that CI says that it should, but mine did not bubble, leading me to bake mine for an extra 5 to 10 minutes, during which it still did not bubble but go the dark crust you see in the photos. Next time, I’d take it out sooner.) Cool in pan for 5 minutes (no longer, or you’ll have trouble getting it out) then turn out on platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

Make glaze: Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar until smooth and light. Add milk and vanilla and this is where you can kick me because I completely forgot I was a food blogger for a minute there and know I added a touch more milk and sugar but did not write down how much. I have some nerve! Just taste and adjust — you’re looking for something that tastes equally tangy and sweet, and texturally thin enough to drape over the bread but thick enough that it will not just roll off completely.

Drizzle the glaze over warm monkey bread, letting it run over top and sides of bread. Serve warm.



  • 6 ounces butter, softened, plus extra for greasing pan
  • 4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring pan and work area
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk (110 to 115 degrees)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces melted butter

Butter and flour a 1-quart or larger ring mold or tube pan and set aside. Whisk the yeast with the milk in a large bowl. Whisk in 2 of the eggs and then the sugar, salt and 4 cups of the flour, switching to a spoon when the dough gets stiff. Stir in the softened butter and knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together in a ball. Turn out onto the work area and knead until it forms an elastic ball, sprinkling with and working in up to 1 cup more flour to keep dough from getting sticky. Place dough in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured work area. Roll dough into a log and cut into 28 equal-size pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, dip in melted butter and place in the prepared pan, staggering pieces in 2 layers. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Beat the remaining egg and lightly brush over the top of the bread. Bake until top is nicely browned and dough is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. (Test by turning out the loaf onto a rack; the bottom and sides should be nicely browned.) Turn upright on another rack to cool slightly before serving.


A lovely accompaniment to Neiman Marcus  Monkey Bread, below.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
Whip butter in a bowl with electric mixer until fluffy.
Fold in strawberry preserves.
Return to refrigerator and allow butter to solidify.

Neiman Marcus Monkey Bread

Adapted from “The Best From Helen Corbitt’s Kitchens” by Helen Corbitt.

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active-dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm milk (no hotter than 125 degrees)
Scant 3 1/3 cups (14 ounces) flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, drizzle the yeast over the warm milk, stirring to combine. Set aside for a few minutes to hydrate the yeast.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt.

3. Using the paddle attachment with a stand mixer, or a hand-held mixer, beat the softened butter into the yeast mixture. With the mixer running, add the flour mixture until thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed (as the dough thickens you may need to do this by hand). Continue to mix on medium speed until the dough appears sticky but becomes smooth to the touch when you roll a small piece into a ball, about 2 minutes.

5. Form the dough into a disc and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour (time will vary depending on the temperature in the room).

After dough has risen, turn out onto lightly floured work surface.
Punch down and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness.
Cut into 2″ diamond shaped pieces.
Dip each piece in melted butter.
Arrange in a 4″ pie pan, 4 or 5 overlapping pieces per loaf.
Allow to rise for 1/2 hour.
Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until brown.
Remove from oven and brush with more of the melted butter.


3 ½ cups milk

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

6 large eggs, at room temperature

Place milk in bowl and microwave on High (100 percent power) for 2 minutes, or until warm to the touch.

Sift flour, salt and baking powder together in large mixing bowl. Crack eggs into work bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk, and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until foamy and pale in color. Turn down mixer to low and add warm milk.

Gradually add flour mixture and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Turn machine off and let batter rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Spray popover tin generously with nonstick spray. Fill popover cups almost to the top with batter and place popover tin on cookie sheet. Transfer to oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn down oven temperature to 375 F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer, until popovers are deep golden brown outside and airy inside.

Turn out popovers and serve hot with strawberry butter. Makes 12 popovers.

Note: Chef Garvin advises: “The key to making great popovers is having the eggs and milk warm before mixing. It is also important to let the batter sit for an hour before baking it. Popovers do not freeze well, and pre-made batter has a tendency not to work properly the next day.”

PER SERVING: Calories 224 (19% fat) Fat 5 g (2 g sat) Cholesterol 97 mg Sodium 387 mg Fiber 1 g Carbohydrates 34 g Protein 10 g

SOURCE: Neiman Marcus Cookbook, Kevin Garvin with John Harrisson



½ cup packed light brown sugar

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Vegetable oil spray

1 pound pizza dough, room temperature

⅓ cup confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons milk


In small bowl, stir together brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Place melted butter in second small bowl. Spray 8- inch round cake pan with vegetable oil spray.

Spray counter lightly with vegetable oil spray. Place dough on greased counter and pat into 6-inch square. Use kitchen shears to cut dough into 36 pieces. Pat dough into 6-inch square. Use kitchen shears to cut dough in half. Cut each half into 3 strips (you’ll have 6 strips total). Cut each strip into 6 even pieces (you’ll have 36 pieces total).

Roll each piece of dough into ball. Dip each ball in melted butter to coat, roll in brown sugar mixture, then place in greased pan. Cover bottom of pan with dough balls in single layer. Roll each piece of dough into ball. Dip each ball in melted butter to coat, roll in brown sugar mixture, then place in greased cake pan.

Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap and leave in warm place until dough balls are puffy and have risen slightly (about ½ inch), 1 to 2 hours.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. When dough is ready, discard plastic. Place pan in oven and bake until top of monkey bread is light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Use oven mitts to remove monkey bread from oven (ask an adult to help). Place pan on cooling rack and let monkey bread cool for 5 minutes (no longer).

Place large plate on top of pan. Ask an adult to carefully flip out monkey bread onto plate. Remove pan. Let cool for 10 minutes before glazing


Place large plate on top of pan. Ask an adult to ip out monkey bread onto plate. Wearing oven mitts, remove pan. Let cool for 10 minutes before glazing.

In third small bowl, stir confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Use spoon to drizzle glaze over monkey bread. Serve warm.



In like a lion, and into our tummy

10 Mar

Ann Lander's World Famous Meatloaf Recipe

MARCH IS A month at war with itself. Cold, windy evenings eventually give way to promising sunny, spring days only to blow back into blustery darkness.

March is, therefore, the perfect month for meatloaf.

Old-fashioned, warm and comforting dinners transform into hipster-friendly cold sandwiches for lunch the next day. See? Conflict resolution, people.

We were raised on our grandmother’s onion soup staple, and a sweeter, jammy ketchup and bacon-topped home variety.

As teenhood advanced, our household turned to adding oatbran or oatmeal and grated carrot and squash, which turned meatloaf into something entirely different — a little something we liked to call child abuse.

But seriously, our love of this dual dinner-to-lunch staple will never fade.

We flirted with a white wine and lemon scented New York Times version, and an allspice number with a ketchup, brown mustard and steak sauce pan gravy. We love the kitsch of our friend R’s cheeseburger rollup style: a diner-esque jelly roll stuffed with shredded cheddar and grilled onion, topped with mustard and ketchup, and served with cold dill pickles. A classic from L.A.’s The Ivy. And there’s this Pioneer Woman bacon-wrapped goodness.

But we want something that tries a little less, just like us. Because, people – this is meatloaf, not chateaubriand.

We are simply mad for the lashings of red pepper jelly served atop Diner Deluxe’s veal meatloaf alongside Dijon mashed potatoes and Avenue Diner’s AAA beef meatloaf served open-faced on savoury bread pudding.


Recipe by Dwayne Ennest

1.2 kg ground veal
1.2 kg ground beef
4 eggs
1 cup diced carrots, roasted
1 cup diced parsnips, roasted
1/4 cup diced green onions
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp HP Sauce
1/2 tsp each: garlic powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, mustard powder, Worchester sauce
2 tbsp hot sauce
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix all ingredients together. Cook a small piece of the mixture on the stovetop to taste and check seasonings.

Place the mixture in two or three loafpans and bake until internal temperature is 120°F, approximately two hours.

Red Pepper Jelly

2 cups pureed roasted red bell peppers
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp red chili flakes and Tabasco sauce each
salt, pepper
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Mix all ingredients, except for cornstarch and water, in a stainless steel pot; bring to a boil. Mix the starch and water and stir into the jelly. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer over medium low heat for two hours until it is thick and jammy with a shiny bright colour. Cool and refrigerate in airtight container. Keeps two weeks and can be frozen. Makes four cups.


1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1 onion, shredded
1 cup shredded apples
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon Montreal seasoning
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl and with a gentle hand, mix together all ingredients EXCEPT the olive oil. Add some additional breadcrumbs if the mixture seems wet. Mold into a loaf and place in a standard loaf pan. Spread the olive oil over the top of the loaf (this keeps the moisture locked in) and place in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes or until cooked through and the juices run clear. Allow to sit 5 minutes before slicing and serving.



with herb wine jelly

1.25 kg lean ground beef
1 cup onions, finely minced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup bread crumbs
3 eggs
salt, pepper
3 tbsp combined chopped fresh basil, tarragon, oregano, thyme

Combine all ingredients and pat into a 20 cm  by 10 sprayed pan.

Bake at 325°F for 30 to 45 minutes.

herb wine jelly

1 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs: rosemary, basil, tarragon, oregano
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups red wine
4 cups sugar
1 bottle of Certo

Combine herbs with boiling water and let steep for one minute. Transfer herbs and water to a saucepan. Add wine and sugar and boil for one minute.

Add Certo and remove from heat. Continue to stir well for several minues, straining any foam from surface.

Pour into sterilized jars leaving 1 cm at top and seal.

Makes 6 one cup jars.


2 lbs ground sirloin
1/2 lb ground veal
1/2 ground pork
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
pinch dried thyme
pinch dried marjoram
1 bottle Heinz chili sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In large mixing bowl gently combine ground sirloin, veal and pork; set aside.
In a medium sauté pan, melt butter over medium high heat. Add celery and onions and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add sautéed celery and onions and all remaining ingredients except chili sauce to meat mixture.
Combine well and form into a loaf. Place loaf in a baking dish and top with chili sauce.
Bake 1 hour in a preheated 350° oven.



Jann Arden’s Mom’s Meatloaf

4 large eggs

2.5 kg lean ground beef

1 onion, finely chopped

1 red pepper, finely chopped

1/2 cup HP sauce

2 Tbsp. Montreal steak spice

1/2 cup oatmeal

2 Tbsp. crushed garlic

Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients together and pack tightly into 2 loaf pans lined with parchment paper. Cover with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove foil, increase the oven temperature to 425F and cook for another 20-25 minutes. Let rest a few minutes before slicing and serving.

To make grilled meatloaf sandwiches, place a thin slice of Havarti or aged cheddar on a piece of bread, top with a slice of meatloaf, another slice of Havarti and another slice of bread, and cook in a generous drizzle of olive oil in a hot pan until the cheese is melted and the bread is crisp.

On marriage…

9 Mar

I don’t want to make him babies. I want to make him dinner.

From Gourmet Magazine, February 2008
“This is the perfect antidote to the Sunday blues, not least because there will be enough left over to pack sandwiches for Monday’s lunch. A mix of beef, pork, and bacon ensures meatiness, with Worcestershire sauce, chopped prunes, and cider vinegar added for good balance and occasional suggestions of sweetness. Because the loaf is baked without a loaf pan, there’s plenty of well-browned crust to go around. “
This turned out amazing. Next time we will add some wine to our brunoise-cut mirepoix, and may swap out allspice in favour of some oregano (although we get that the allspice/prune combo substitutes for ketchup). We love the idea of making a prune/bacon paste to add, but are considering using leaner back bacon or pancetta. Thanks to our darling Le Creuset oval baker, we were able to drain the grease easily. There was a lot. Our loaf was very moist, but firmed up well. We like our meatloaf pan with its drainage holes, but we are kind of sold on our oval baker giving more crust surface.
  • 1 cup fine fresh, torn bread from 2 slices firm white sandwich bread
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 pound bacon (about 4 slices), chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes, chopped (try less)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1/2 pound ground pork (not lean)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Garnish:
  • cooked bacon
  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
  • Soak bread crumbs in milk in a large bowl. Meanwhile, cook onion, garlic, celery, and carrot in butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Cover skillet and reduce heat to low, then cook until carrot is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, allspice, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Add to bread-crumb mixture.
  • Finely chop bacon and prunes in a food processor, then add to onion mixture along with beef, pork, eggs, and parsley and mix together with your hands.
  • Pack mixture into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf in a 13- by 9-inch shallow baking dish or pan.
  • Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meatloaf registers 155°F, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Silver belles

9 Mar

sherri's silver 2

Witness our shame.

Tarnished beyond belief: an International Silver Company hinged mini coffee pot, sugar bowl, tongs and creamer in the pattern of Camille. Sleek lines and floral design adorns the covers and pedestal bases. The long spout and flowing handles add grace and charm to our service, non? Oui oui!

UPDATE: online auction sites claim Camille is a pattern introduced in the early 1970s. Stupid internets! We were enjoying pretending it was from the 1940s. Sigh. Ours is stamped 6030

Oscar night

7 Mar

GET READY FOR the most glamourous couch time of the year — it’s Oscar night.

We are truly bummed we will be working and not sipping bubbly and noshing on delicate blini topped with smoked salmon and dill creme. Sigh.

And these Oscar bingo cards and ballots would only make it more fun.

Academy Awards night is an easy party to have — even if it’s just the two of you snuggling on the couch. We dream of a very fun popcorn buffet and assorted nibbles.

And to add a bit of glamour to the evening, these two luxurious dips are divine served with an elegant platter of crudite.

Also, besides Wolfgang Puck’s famous smoked salmon pizza, he posted a recipe for his prime sliders being served at the Governor’s Ball.

Perfect for a night on the couch and your very own red carpet evening.


•3 packages of cream cheese
•1/2 cup mayonaise
•1 teaspoon prepared mustard
•1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
•2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
•1/2 cup dry white wine like Chardonnay or 1/4 cup of sherry
•Juice of half a lemon
•1 teaspoon lemon zest
•1 pound lump crabmeat, canned
•1/4 cup green onions, sliced
•Baguette, cut into cubes

In a double boiler, melt cream cheese, mayonaise, mustard, garlic powder, Old Bay, and lemon zest.
Stir in wine and lemon juice.
Carefully fold in crabmeat.
Transfer to a fondue pot to serve.


1 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup cold, salted butter (cubed)
3 tablespoons chipotles en adobo* (puréed)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 300 F.
In a medium-sized pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add popcorn kernels and cover. Shake until kernels have stopped popping. (Alternatively, pop in an air popper or microwave.) Transfer popped corn to a large mixing bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat brown sugar and corn syrup. Boil until sugar has dissolved. Carefully add butter, a few cubes at a time. When butter is melted, stir in the chipotles en adobo and remove from heat. Let cool slightly before whisking in baking powder.

Drizzle caramel mixture over popcorn. Stir with a large spoon.

Spread popcorn evenly on a parchment-lined tray and bake 20 to 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Let cool. Keeps up to three days in tightly sealed container. Enjoy.
(Yields 6 cups.)

Sunday gravy

1 Mar

Friends, Romans and hungrymen!

Hearty Italian Meat Sauce (Sunday Gravy)
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Episode: Saucy Italian Favorites

1 rack baby back ribs (about 2 1/4 pounds), cut into 2-rib sections
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 pound hot Italian sausage
2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups0
1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 cans crushed tomatoes
2/3 cup beef broth cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, crusts removed and bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 medium garlic minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound meatloaf mix
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto. chopped fine
1 ounce Pecorino Romano, grated (about 1/2 cup
1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/2 pounds spaghetti or linguine
2 tablespoons table salt
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Adjust oven rack to lower- middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Heat oil in large Dutch oven until just smoking. Pat ribs dry and season with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add half of ribs to pot and brown on both sides for five minutes each. Set aside.
Brown sausages, 5 minutes. Add to plate with ribs.

Reduce heat to medium, add onions and oregano, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown. Add tomato paste and stir until dark, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes and broth, scraping up browned bits. Return ribs and sausage to pot; bring to simmer. Cover pot place in oven. Cook until ribs are tender, about 2½ hours.

Meanwhile make meatballs by combining bread cubes, buttermilk, parsley, garlic, egg yolk, salt, and red pepper flakes in medium bowl. Mash until no bread chunks remain. Add meatloaf mix, prosciutto, and cheese to bread mixture; mix with hands until thoroughly combined. Divide into 12 pieces; roll into balls, and refrigerate until ready to use.

30 minutes before sauce is done, fry meatballs until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain on paper towel.
Remove sauce from oven and skim fat from top. Add meatballs to sauce and gently submerge. Cover and return to oven for about 15 minutes.

Cook pasta and reserve ½ cup cooking water; drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot.

Pluck out meatballs, ribs, and sausage and transfer to a serving platter, cutting sausages in half. Stir basil into sauce and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Toss pasta with one cup of sauce and reserved pasta water to lightly coat pasta. Serve pasta, passing remaining sauce and meat platter separately.

O Canada in a bottle… er, bowl

1 Mar

This is the hoarded recipe equivalent of a time machine. We will spice up the croutons with cayenne, smoked paprika or even steak grill seasoning. Sweet potatoes or butternut squash may add some vitamins and boost the flavour, but we’re thinking this will be pretty damn good on its own.

UPDATE: Big Rock and Michael Smith versions at bottom. Below that, an America’s Test Kitchen version of Winsconsin cheddar beer soup.

And. Also! Beer-cap croutons. How cute!



beer cap croutons

1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup grated old cheddar cheese
2/3 cup whipping cream


2 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 carrot, sliced and thinly sliced
2 10 oz bottles of beer (We want to use Steigl)
1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp leaf thyme
1 bay leaf
3 cups chicken stock or 1 can undiluted chix broth with 1 1/2 cup water
1/2 lb grated old cheddar cheese
1/2 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper

TO PREPARE CROUTONS, preheat oven to 435 f . lightly grease a baking sheet, then line with parchment paper. Measure flour, bp, salt into a medium sized bowl. Stir with a fork until well combined. Then stir in cheese and cream until well mixed.

Gather dough into a ball. Place on lightly floured board and knead about six or eight times. Roll dough about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out tiny croutons with beer cap. Bake for 10 to 12 or until golden.

TO PREPARE SOUP, melt butter in a wide saucepan over medium low heat. Add onion, leek, carrot, celery. cook uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occassionally until onion begins to brown. Stir in beer.

Add potato, garlic, seasonings, and chicken stock. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer gently uncovered until potato is soft, about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

Strain soup into a large bowl. Place strained vegetables and 1/2 cup liquid in food processor. Return pureed mixture and strained liquid to saucepan.  Add cheese and whisk over lowe heat utnil melted. Add cream and salt and pepper.

Serve soup hot topped with beer-cap croutons. Flavour will improve overnight.


Michael Smith’s Cheddar & Ale Soup

1/2 cup butter (or half butter, half olive or canola oil)
1 large or 2 small onions, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1/4 cup flour
1 bottle dark beer
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy 35% cream (or 18% coffee cream, or half & half)
2 cups grated old cheddar (or aged Gouda!)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
a dash of Worcestershire sauce

In a medium pot, heat the butter over medium-high heat and sauté the onions until starting to turn golden. Add the celery and carrot and continue to sauté for a few minutes more. Shake the flour overtop and stir to coat the veggies. Add the beer, stock and cream and simmer until the soup has thickened, about five minutes more. Add the grated cheddar, salt and pepper and Worcestershire sauce and stir until smooth. Serves 4-6.

Wisconsin Cheddar Beer Soup
You will need one 4-ounce chunk of American cheese from the deli counter for this recipe; do not use presliced or packaged shredded cheese here. Freeze the American cheese for 15 minutes to make shredding easier. As for beer, we like Miller High Life for its hoppy character and balanced flavor.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped fine
2 carrots, peeled and chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
1¾ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (12-ounce) beer (see note)
2 cups whole or low-fat milk
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded American cheese (see note)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Cook onion and carrots until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth, beer, and milk. Bring mixture to simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently (do not boil) until carrots are very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss shredded cheeses and cornstarch in large bowl until well combined. Puree soup in blender in two batches until completely smooth, return to pot, and simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in cheese mixture, one handful at a time, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. (Soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 days.)