Archive | September, 2010

Holy Mole

27 Sep

More on our Halloween recipe theme.

We’re focusing on pumpkin seeds for our Halloween menus, it seems. They’re perfect in pesto, sate dipping sauce, and here, in a Mexican-themed mole.

These would be great skewered for movie marathon appetizers, or as a main course.

Chicken with Pumpkin-Seed Mole
Martha Stewart

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3), each halved
• 1 small serrano chile
• 1 small poblano chile
• 1 small white onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
• 2 garlic cloves
• 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pepitas (roasted unsalted pumpkin seeds)
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
• 2 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
• 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
• 2 tablespoons lime juice
• Steamed rice, for serving (optional)

Place chicken in a 4-quart pot, and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate, and cover.
Place serrano and poblano chiles directly over the flame of a gas-stove burner on high heat. Roast, turning with tongs, until blackened all over. (Alternatively, broil chiles on a baking sheet, turning often, until skin has charred.) Transfer chiles to a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand for 15 minutes. Peel chiles, and remove stems, seeds, and ribs.
Process roasted chiles, onion, garlic, cilantro leaves, 1/2 cup pepitas, cumin, oregano, and 1/2 cup stock in a blender until a coarse paste forms.
Heat oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add paste, and cook, stirring constantly, until very thick, about 9 minutes. (Reduce heat if mixture begins to scorch.) Whisk remaining 1 1/2 cups of stock into paste until incorporated. Let mixture cool slightly, then transfer to blender. Add salt and lime juice. Process until sauce is smooth.

Halloween finger food

27 Sep

The countdown to Halloween continues.

Rather than gross-out grub, we opt for food that honours the season.

New York Times

These winter rolls are very autumn (butternut squash) and very Halloween (pumpkin seeds + ruby red dipping sauce!). They would be perfect finger food for a Halloween movie marathon with friends.

Roasting the squash is wonderful, but we’ve also poached cubed butternut in a combination of chicken broth and apple juice. A different flavour, but very good.

We’ve seen another creative variation of this using grated blanched beets and sweet potato dressed with olive oil, cilantro, cumin and orange zest that looked very festive.

January 24, 2007
Adapted from Isa Chandra Moskowitz

You can serve these with a cranberry/lime juice/sriracha dipping sauce also, recipe at bottom.

Time: 45 minutes
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces vermicelli rice noodles or rice sticks
12 8-inch round rice paper wrappers
1/3 cup roasted salted pumpkin seeds, pistachios or peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves and thin stems, torn into bite-size pieces

1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons Asian hot chili oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil.

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and spread in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes, toss gently and return to oven until tender and caramelized, about 10 more minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

2. Meanwhile, prepares noodles: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Turn off heat, add noodles, and allow to sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water; set aside.

3. To assemble rolls: Fill a large pie plate or shallow bowl with very warm tap water. Lay a clean, damp kitchen towel on counter to use as a work surface; this will prevent wrappers from sliding. Submerge two paper wrappers in the water to soften, about 1 minute. Gently transfer one wrapper to towel.

4. In lower third of circle, place a small handful of noodles, leaving about an inch and a half of empty wrapper on either side. Place two or three pieces of squash on top of noodles, and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and cilantro. To roll, fold left and right sides of wrapper snugly over the filling. Lift the bottom of the wrapper over the filling, tucking it underneath, then roll up firmly but gently. Place seam side down on a plate, and continue with remaining wrappers and filling. Cut in half when ready to serve.

5. For dipping sauce: In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon soy sauce, the vinegar and sugar. Add chili oil and sesame oil, and taste. If desired, add additional soy sauce.
Yield: 12 rolls.

For the sauce:
1 cup whole, fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups cold water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 fresh serrano pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce, or to taste (optional)
Bring cranberries, water and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add peppers and lime juice and simmer for another 10 minutes until sauce has reduced. Remove from heat. Add hot sauce if desired. Set aside.

Halloween recipe hoarding

24 Sep

It’s far too early to be posting and planning for this, but we’re noticing a frenzy of google hits for Halloween food leading people here. (See our past posts.)
Instead to waiting until two weeks before Oct. 31 to post our fun food ideas, we’re going to post them now, hoping we can help inspire those of you searching for new recipes.

So without further ado:

We’re not ones for Halloween gross-out food — we’ll leave that for the kiddies.

We like to think more Gothic gourmet at Halloween time. And we’re digging the Linda Blair/Exorcist pea soup vibe.

So we’re combining this Halloween theme with our love for all things ’80s.

That can only mean Magic Pan’s Potage St. Germain.

The famous creperie offered the rich, popular pea soup with a dollop of sour cream and a splash of sherry, served in a darling glass creuet.

While cheaters never prosper (Campbell’s split pea with bacon soup, condensed cream of chicken soup, sherry, sour cream), the recipe below is rather involved.

But it will make an elegant starter for a Halloween dinner party.


1 (1 pound) ham bone
4 1/2 cups water
1 (13 ounce) can chicken broth
2 cups split peas
2/3 cup finely chopped leeks or green onions
1/3 cup finely chopped carrots
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
Bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup chopped ham, cooked
1/2 cup chopped chicken (cooked) (optional)

Place ham bone in large pot. Add water, chicken stock and peas and bring to boil over medium heat.

Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.

Sauté the onions, carrots and celery just until limp. Add them to the soup pot along with all the seasonings and continue to simmer until peas are very soft and mixture is thick – about 45 minutes. Remove ham bone.

Gradually stir in the milk and cream. Add ham and chicken. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve each bowl with dollop of sour cream and a splash of sherry.
Continuing on our theme of sherried pea soup, Potage Mongol was once thought to be the height of sophistication; instant gourmet. A back-of-the-can style crab bisque made of condensed split pea soup, condensed tomato soup, cream, crab meat and sherry, it’s quick and dirty.

Here’s a Best of Bridge version circa 1979:

1/4 lb. crab meat
3 Tbsp. sherry
1 – 10 oz. can tomato soup
1 – 10 oz. can green pea soup
1 cup light cream
salt and white pepper to taste
Flake crab and soak in sherry for 10 minutes. Blend undiluted soups and simmer until hot. Add cream and blend thoroughly. Add crab meat and seasonings. Heat but do not boil. Serves 4.

The New York Times had this more elaborate Craig Claiborne version below:
Potage mongol (Split-pea and tomato soup)
1 pound green or yellow split peas
1 pound lean pork bones, cut into two-inch pieces
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely minced
6 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups imported canned tomatoes
Salt, if desired
Freshly ground pepper
2 carrots, trimmed and scraped
1 cup heavy cream
Tabasco sauce
1.Soak the peas or not according to package recommendations.
2.Put the bones in a kettle and cook over moderate heat until bones start to brown. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until onion is wilted. Drain the beans and add them to the kettle.Add the water, bay leaf, thyme, tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste.Bring to the boil and let simmer one hour.
3.Meanwhile, cut the carrots into one-and-one-half-inch lengths.Cut the pieces lengthwise into very thin slices. Stack the slices and cut the slices into very thin julienne strips. Drop the strips into boiling water. Let boil two minutes. Drain thoroughly.
4.When the soup is cooked, pour it into the container of a food processor or electric blender and blend until smooth. Return it to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the cream, Tabasco sauce to taste and the carrots. Serve piping hot.

Mad About the Food

20 Sep

We’re amassing quite a few Mad Men themed recipes.

Here are some quick links:

Roger and Joan’s Forbidden Cherry Cheesecake

Bethany, Betty and Barbetta… cheque please!


Peppers in Palm Springs

Rumaki, anyone?

Pot Roast: Recurring character?

Chicken Kiev

Mad Menu

20 Sep

Roger and Joan share a sky-high slice of New York cherry cheesecake at the Tip Toe Inn, a Jewish deli on the corner of Broadway and 86th Street.

We’re going to pretend it’s the old Lindy’s on Broadway, because that’s where our hoarded recipe comes from. Renowned for its sturgeon, corned beef and blintzes, Lindy’s was the place to be for a late night coffee and slice of cheesecake.

Carnegie Deli has posted its own cheesecake recipe on its site here.

Eat your heart out, Roger. Erm, New York…

From a 1961 copy of The World’s Best Recipes

1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tsp. grated lemon rind
1 Tsp. vanilla
1 egg yolk
1/4 lb. softened butter

2 1/2 lbs. cream cheese
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbs. flour
1 1/2 tsp. each of grated orange and lemon rind
5 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream

In large bowl combine flour, sugar, lemon rind and vanilla. Make a well in the center of mixture, add egg yolk and butter and form into a dough (adding a little water if necessary to make it pliable).

Wrap in waxed paper and chill for 1 hour.
In another bowl combine the cream cheese, sugar, flour and orange and lemon rind with an electric mixer. Add eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and beat well.
Add heavy cream and blend thoroughly. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
Roll out 1/3 of dough to 1/8 inch thickness and mold to the pan’s bottom. Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 15 minutes until lightly browned, then remove and cool. Cut remaining dough to line the sides of the pan thoroughly.
Add cream cheese mixture, bake at 550°F for 10 minutes, then bake at 200°F for 1 hour. 

Allow cheese cake to cool.

Peppers in Palm Springs

16 Sep

"Have you ever tried Mexican food?"

“Have you ever tried Mexican food?”

The year is 1962. Don Draper has run off from a conference in LA to Palm Springs with a young nymph named Joy.

After collapsing from heat exhaustion in front of her eccentric, nomadic friends, a more rested Don joins the crowd poolside for his first taste of Mexican food.

Oh 1962: you had so much to offer.

Joy tells him he must try "a pepper, filled with cheese. And there's a sauce!"

Well. If that doesn't send you trotting off in search of a recipe for chiles rellenos and roasted red pepper sauce, you're simply mad.

We even have a 1980s Seventeen Magazine recipe for chiles rellenos:

(Albeit an eggy, microwavable version as yet untried. But still nostalgic!)

(click below for the 1980s goodness)

With our love of Palm Springs and Mexican food, this is a perfect addition to our Food From Mad Men series.

Roasted poblano or anaheim peppers stuffed with cheese are dipped in whipped egg and fried.

Fire roasted tomatoes and red pepper, garlic and onion make a simple sauce for drizzling overtop.

But because we are weirdly anti-oeuf, we’d like to broil a batch casserole style; layering rows of stuffed peppers with a touch of sour cream and panko or even cornmeal on top. We’ll give a whirl and see how it goes.

We’re not keen on surrendering the look of individual peppers, but we’re sure if we keep the topping light, the peppers will still look like peppers. Granted, they will not have that fried, crunchy coating that makes the peppers so dreamy. But baking/broiling is sure to save a load of calories.

We love the simplicity of oozy cheese and slippery peppers, but we’re mighty tempted to stuff with pork carnitas for a more substantial pepper.

Cross yer fingers…

Mad about Barbetta

14 Sep

Fascination with food from Mad Men never ends.

Draper’s got himself in a tangle, much like the noodles in Bethany’s bowl at Barbetta.

We imagine she’s tucking into their Lingue Di Passero Al Pate D’ Olive (linguine tossed with minced black Sicilian olives) Spaghetti Sciue Sciue (noodles tossed with sauteed garlic, chopped tomatoes, mozzerella cubes, basil) or better yet, spaghettini with lobster.
Perhaps Don is enjoying a nice paillard of veal or one of our teenhood favourites, Saltimbocca alla Romana.
Surprisingly, we first tried this from Seventeen magazine, but have since lost the recipe.
This recipe is dead on and delicious.

4 (5-ounce) thinly sliced veal cutlets (scallopini) or chicken breasts, pounded
4 slices thinly sliced prosciutto
8 fresh sage leaves, plus more for garnish
All-purpose flour, for dredging
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dry white wine (Seventeen called for lemon juice. Bah.)
1/4 cup chicken broth
Lemon wedges, for serving

Put the veal cutlets side by side on a sheet of plastic wrap. Lay a piece of prosciutto on top of each piece of veal and cover with another piece of plastic. Gently flatten the cutlets with a rolling pin or meat mallet, until the pieces are about 1/4-inch thick and the prosciutto has adhered to the veal. Remove the plastic wrap and lay a couple of sage leaves in the center of each cutlet. Weave a toothpick in and out of the veal to secure the prosciutto and sage. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to combine. Dredge the veal in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess.
Heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter and in a large skillet over medium flame. Put the veal in the pan, prosciutto-side down first. Cook for 3 minutes to crisp it up and then flip the veal over and saute the other side for 2 minutes, until golden. Transfer the saltimbocca to a serving platter, remove the toothpicks, and keep warm.
Add the wine to the pan, stirring to bring up all the delicious flavor in the bottom; let the wine cook down for a minute to burn off some of the alcohol. Add the chicken broth and remaining tablespoon of butter, swirl the pan around. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the saltimbocca, garnish with sage leaves and lemon wedges; serve immediately.

Monday is Taco Tuesday

14 Sep

sweet potato taco 3

OMG. Again. OMG. This is a recipe we will make forever. Hoarded from the New York Times since Nov. 7, 2004, we just got around to giving this a whirl tonight. Post yoga, pre-sensible-September-eating.

It is magnificently bright tasting and full of vitamins. The vinaigrette is so tangy and puckery from lovely lime, and the soft chicken smooshes beautifully with the toasty, cumin-scented sweet potatoes (full disclosure: we used orangy yams because the yellow sweet potatoes at the market looked about 100 years old. No matter. This is better.)

Also, we love how few ingredients there are. Simple.

Sweet and sour on an earthy organic corn tortilla and crunchy greens. If we were Taco Tuesday people, this baby would be in heavy rotation.

UPDATE: We steamed and mashed the sweet potato, leaving it lumpy, and tossed it with cilantro and the vinaigrette. While you don’t get that crunchy taste, it was still delicious. And of course it sped up the prep time to warp speed.

Also, with a grocery store rotisserie chicken and a lightning fast mandolin for slicing the sweet potatoes, this comes together faster than ever. Making the sauce the day before would be genius.


For the chipotle vinaigrette:
2 chipotle peppers in adobo
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil. (we chickened out and used a generous 1/4 cup)

For the taco filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 chicken breast halves (bone-in), poached
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro (leaves and tender stems), chopped.

To serve: 
12 to 16 warm flour (we’ve been using organic corn) tortillas 
2 cups hearts of romaine lettuce, shredded 
2 cups mixed field greens 
Red salsa (optional).

1. To make the vinaigrette, drop the chipotles, garlic, salt, lime juice and vinegar into a blender and puree until smooth. With the blender still running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Set aside.
2. To make the filling, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the sweet potatoes, sprinkle with the cumin and salt. Fry, stirring often, until the potatoes are golden and crispy, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
3. Meanwhile, pull the poached chicken breasts off the bone and use a fork to shred the meat. Place in a large mixing bowl with the red onion, cilantro and potatoes. Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and use a rubber spatula to combine well.
4. In a medium bowl, toss together the lettuce and field greens. Serve the filling on a platter with the lettuces, warm tortillas and red salsa, if desired.

Fruit Cake*

3 Sep
browned butter plum cake

* From the I Don’t Want To Make Babies, I Want to Make Dinner files

Labour Day long weekend — a.k.a. summer’s last hurrah — is upon us.

How very sad to be packing away our summer clothes (whites and Lilly Pulitzer), books (The Great Gatsby, Archie Digests, Nancy Drew) and general happiness. Wah.

We have one last kick at the cat where summer lounging is concerned. Time to celebrate summer’s fruit bounty.

Slip into your Nantucket Reds (cuffs rolled, obviously), pour yourself a tall Cape Cod (more cape than cod, please), and tuck into this lovely plum cobbler.

This is the easiest dessert we’ve ever made. Seriously. This is a keeper.

The secret is browned butter and plums. The original recipe calls for apples, which we’re keen on trying this fall.

But for summer, nothing is better than luscious, tart plums.

We substitute eight sliced plums sprinkled with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg for the apples and lemon juice.

UPDATE: Now we’re thinking about five-spice powder in place of the spice additions?

FullSizeRender (46)

from: Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax

10-inch single layer cake; serves 8

3 medium-size tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (about 3 cups) with 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 10-inch Pyrex pie pan. Update: we prefer an 8-inch sq Pyrex square dish. You can cut nine squares or six rectangles.
2. Toss the apples in a bowl with the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the cinnamon. Spread the apples evenly in the prepared pan.
3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook until lightly golden, about 7 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning. Pour the clear, browned butter into a bowl, leaving any sediment or foam in the pan.
4. Stir the 3/4 cup sugar into the butter. Gently stir in the eggs; stir in the flour until blended. Spoon the batter evenly over the apples and spread into a layer. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
5. Bake until lightly golden and crusty, 40 to 45 minutes.
6. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into wedges and serve from the pan warm or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream.