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.

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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.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH RICE PAPER ROLLS
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
FOR THE ROLLS:
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

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE:
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.

CRANBERRY DIPPING SAUCE
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.

MAGIC PAN RESTAURANT POTAGE ST GERMAIN

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.
_____________________________
NON-HALLOWEENISH
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
Preparation
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.

Cheater perogies

21 Sep


We would never diss your Ukrainian Baba’s perogies, but boy howdy are those homemade pillowy potato dumplings time-consuming.

Same goes for hearty cabbage rolls, which we, slattern, make unstuffed: sauteed ground beef or turkey, onions, green pepper, cooked rice, a package of raw coleslaw, tomato sauce, dill, and black pepper. (Full disclosure: we grew up calling the cabbage stuffing mixture Putty Mutty. Weird)

Our Big Sis makes a mean perogi casserole. All of the taste, none of the hassle. Luscious layers of potato, dilled sour cream (our idea!), cheddar, bacon, and sauteed onions between sheets of pasta baked and topped with, yes, more cheese.

The first day of autumn upon us. We have great memories of attending a random church fund-raiser fall supper, complete with perfect fried chicken thighs, sausage, and perogies. When the first frost comes and a craving for a bit of Prairie comfort hits, we’re going to try scuffles, and make this lasagne-like casserole. Maybe some cardio first to combat all that luscious carb glory.

But we’re thinking of adding goat’s cheese and artichokes to the potato filling for a modern twist (see bottom recipe). Or maybe layering a bit of squeezed sauerkraut.

If you’re trying to cut back on fatty bacon, why not just use a few rashers and use slices of leaner turkey kielbasa to layer?

While we’re commiting acts of blasphemy, why not add mashed sweet potatoes with cheese?

SISTO’S PEROGY CASSEROLE
Her directions:
Cook bacon until crispy & remove from pan.
Crumble and set aside. Keep a bit of the bacon grease in the pan. (Toss the rest if there’s a gross amount.) Add chopped onions to the bacon pan with a bit of olive/grape seed oil if it starts to seem dry. Saute until translucent.
Boil/mash potatoes. Add dilled sour cream, a bit of milk and salt/pepper to taste. (You can also add cheddar cheese if you want to bump up the cheese flavor &/or add a bit of color to the potatoes so they stand out against the white lasagna noodles)
Boil a 500g pack of lasagna noodles.
I usually use a 380g package of shredded cheese because I hate grating. Old Cheddar/Italiano/Mozza-Cheddar/Double Cheddar… whatever sounds good to you (you could always grate it if you don’t hate that)
500 g sour cream (optional)

Once all the ‘parts’ are prepared I start assembling it like you would lasagna:
lasagna noodles (basted in a little melted butter to keep them from drying out – genius)
mashed potatoes
onions
bacon
lasagna noodles
mashed potatoes
layer of sour cream (optional)
onions
grated cheese
top with crumbled bacon and chopped green onion for colour.
Cover & bake at 325-350.
——————————————-
For another non-traditional twist on perogies:
Traditional Hand-Pinched Goat’s Cheese Vareniki
Chef Michelle Ducie

Vareniki dough:

1 egg
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
3 cups (750 mL) white flour
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
water as needed to form dough

“The un-heart-smart filling.”

2 cups (500 mL) regular mashed potatoes
1/4 cup (50 mL) snow goat cheese
1/4 cup (50 mL) diced canned artichokes
2 tbsp (30 mL) minced fresh basil
1 tsp (5 mL) crushed garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the egg and oil, add water to make 1 cup (250 mL) and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt. Slowly add the egg-oil mixture to the dry mixture and mix by hand. Add water or flour as needed to make a dough.

When combined, form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and let rest 3-5 minutes.

Combine the filling ingredients, mixing well to eliminate any lumps.

Lightly flour the table surface so the dough won’t stick. Roll out to a pasta-like thickness, less than 1/4 in. (.5 cm). Cut the dough into squares, add a small spoonful of filling in the middle. Bring corner to corner to form a tight seal, pinching.

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!

Benihana-hey

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…

LINDY’S RESTAURANT FAMOUS CHEESECAKE
From a 1961 copy of The World’s Best Recipes

COOKIE CRUST:

1 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tsp. grated lemon rind

1 Tsp. vanilla

1 egg yolk

1/4 lb. softened butter




FILLING:

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…