Chocolate Fudge Stuffed Blondies


This recipe showed up on Reddit the other day, and since my mother-in-law loves chocolate, I decided to give it a go, and send her a batch.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup Brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose Flour
  • 1½ tsps baking powder
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 395g (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk

Preparation

To make the cookie dough.
  1. In an electric mixer, combine butter, brown sugar and caster sugar. Beat until pale and fluffy.
  2. With the mixer still going, beat eggs. salt and vanilla, until combined.
  3. Stir in flour and baking powder until well combined. Then add 1 cup of the chocolate chips, mix until just combined.
To make chocolate fudge.
  1. Add remaining chocolate chips and condensed milk to a medium saucepan.
  2. Stir over medium heat until chocolate is melted and the mixture is combined.
To bake
  1. Line a high edge baking tray with baking paper and grease lightly with oil.
  2. Layer half the cookie dough mixture on the base of the pane. Pressing evenly into the corners.
  3. Pour the cooled chocolate fudge mixture over the cookie dough. Topping with the remaining cookie dough. Spreading evenly with your fingers.
  4. Bake in a  350F (175C) degree oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Allow the cake to cool in the tray for at least 1 hour. Remove and cut into squares.

Here are my notes on the recipe :

  • Better to use a smaller baking pan than a larger one, since I had trouble making the top layer cover the fudge layer.
  • Probably no need to put down parchment. I was able to release the squares easily, just by greasing the pan with the butter wrappers.
  • The video makes the fudge center seem more gooey than it actually ends up being. Once cooled, it solidifies and while it’s good, it’s not gooey.



Divorce Carrot Cake

There’s a recipe over on Reddit that’s getting rave reviews. It’s weird name is explained by the OP, u/spider_hugs… “This was my mom’s recipe. Named so because my dad sheepishly asked me to make for his birthday, despite the fact they’ve been divorced for over 20 years. Use a cream cheese frosting.” Some people complain that the cake is too dense. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m looking forward to having a reason to.

OP only posted a screenshot of a recipe card, so here’s the recipe written out:

    • 1c oil
    • 1/2 to 3/4 c honey
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
    • 2c carrots, grated
    • 2c  flour *
    • 2 tsp cinnamon *
    • 2 tsp baking soda *
    • 1 c coconut
    • 1/2 c walnuts
    • Raisins
Preheat oven to 350°.
Grease and flour two cake pans.
Combine dry * ingredients in a medium bowl.
Combine oil, honey, eggs, pineapple in a large bowl.
Mix dry bowl and any remaining ingredients into “wet” bowl.
Pour into cake pans.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

 

OP doesn’t specify a recipe for the cream cheese frosting, but this one is pretty good.

    • 8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • one 8-ounce package (227g) cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups (283g to 397g) confectioners’ sugar
    • 1 teaspoon milk or cream, optional, if necessary to thin frosting

Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the salt and vanilla. Beat in the sugar. Add a teaspoon of milk or cream if the frosting is too stiff to spread; add additional sugar if it’s too thin.




Scotcheroos

These are a family tradition with my in-laws. Whenever two or more are gathered together, these sweet treats are made. (They’ve made them so often, there are metal cake pans that have scored cut marks in the bottoms.) They’re really delicious and pretty easy to make, and great for pot-luck suppers. Unless you try serving them to a room full of diabetics, you’ll never, ever have leftovers.

1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup smooth peanut butter
6 cups Rice Krispies® cereal
1 small bag (12-16 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 small bag (12-16 oz) butterscotch chips

In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the sugar and the corn-syrup and heat until the sugar is melted, and the first signs of bubbles start to form. Remove from the heat, and stir in the peanut butter, and mix well. Add the cereal, stirring until blended. Press the mixture into a buttered 13x9x2-inch sheet pan. Melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips together in a double-boiler, or use a microwave: half power for 3 minutes, stirring, and then up to another 2 minutes. Spread melted mixture over the Rice Krispies® mixture in the pan. Cool until firm, and cut into squares. Do not refrigerate!

Note: Be careful not to heat the sugar syrup too much. The higher it boils, the denser the rice crispies bottom ends up being, and if you heat it too much, the rice layer may not even stick together. I’ve learned this from experience.




Instant Pot Risotto

This method works surprisingly well. It’s currently my go-to instant pot recipe, replacing the spaghetti and meat sauce recipe I made last year. Be sure to have the onion and garlic already chopped, and your rice pre-measured before you turn on the pot, because they otherwise tend to burn if you’re not paying full attention.
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
    • 3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    • 1 3/4 cups (11 ounces) arborio or carnaroli rice
    • 1/3 cup dry vermouth
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (boxed is perfectly fine here.)
    • 2/3 cup (2 3/4 ounces) fresh or frozen peas (or lima beans work well, too.)
    • 1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Step 1
Set your instant pot to SAUTE and let it heat up. (On mine, it says “Hot” instead of just “On.”)  Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it softens and becomes translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until aromatic, about 1 minute.
Step 2
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the rice. Cook, stirring, until the rice is lightly toasted and smells nutty, 3 to 8 minutes. Stir in the vermouth and cook until the wine has evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in the broth, then cover, set the steam valve to PRESSURE (or SEALING) and turn to HIGH. After the cooker reaches high pressure, which takes 5 to 10 minutes, cook for 6 minutes.
Step 3
Release the pressure manually, then stir in the peas, cheese and butter, if using, and continue to stir until the risotto is creamy and the peas are just warmed through, about 2 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Divide among 4 bowls, top with more cheese.
VARIATIONS
For red wine risotto: Reduce the broth to 3 cups and add 1 cup of red wine.
For pancetta and corn risotto: Render 4 ounces diced pancetta until crisp before cooking the onion; substitute the kernels from 2 ears of corn for the peas.
For lemon and herb risotto: In place of peas, stir in 1/2 cup chopped tender herbs, such as basil, tarragon, chervil or parsley. Season to taste with fresh lemon juice.
For Farro risotto: Replace the arborio for farro, and cook for 12 minutes under pressure, and add 2 more cups of broth.



My Method for Sourdough Pandemic Bread

So I’ve been making bread every couple of days for the last several months. I’ve come up with a method for sourdough that doesn’t require constant attention to the starter, and I end up with two loaves of tasty and satisfying bread, ideal for sandwiches or french toast. It’s based on a recipe I found over at King Arthur Flour website, but I’ve made a couple of slight modifications to the ingredients and the method. This bread requires two days to make, but most of that time, the dough is just sitting.

It starts with the sourdough. You’ll need a good and lively sourdough starter. There are plenty of sites that can walk you through the creation of the sourdough starter. It took me about 3 weeks of high maintenance sourdough starter feeding to end up with mine, but now, I only feed mine on the day I start making the bread … about every 4 days. I keep mine on the counter in a mason jar, covered with a damp paper towel. I keep a rubber band around the jar, so I can keep track of how much the starter grows after I feed it. When I do feed it, I add 100g of all-purpose flour, and 100g of lukewarm tap water. I feed it first thing in the morning when I’m making breakfast, and by lunchtime, it’s ready to be used.

1 c. fed sourdough starter
100g wheat flour
560g all-purpose flour (split, 262g on day 1 and 298g on day 2)
1 2/3 lukewarm water
1 ½ t. yeast
2 t. salt
1 T. nonfat dry milk powder
2 T. olive oil

I measure out 1 cup of the fed starter and add it to the mixing bowl. Then I add 100g of wheat flour, and 262g of all-purpose flour, along with the water. I mix it with a spatula, and then cover the bowl with a damp towel, and set it on the counter. After 2 hours or so, there will be bubbles on the surface. I put the bowl and towel into the refrigerator and let it sit until the next day.

On the second day, I add the yeast, salt, notfat dry milk, and olive oil, and 298g of all-purpose flour, and mix it with a dough hook, slowly at first, and then medium speed for a couple of minutes. (You can take it out and knead it by hand if you want, but it’s not strictly necessary.) Again, cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and allow it to rise for several hours, until doubled in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured work surface, and cut it in half. Flatten each dough ball into a loose triangle, with the base of the triangle no wider than your loaf pan. Roll the dough from top to bottom, making sure to adhere the dough as you roll it, to avoid large air bubbles in the final loaf. Put the rolled log into a lightly greased loaf pan, seam side down. Repeat for the second loaf, then cover with the towel, and let rise until the dough peaks up over the side of the loaf pan.

Put the pans into the middle of a preheated 425º oven, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool enough to handle, and then remove the loaves from the pan, and completely cool on a wire rack for several hours, and then store them in a loose plastic bag.




Burger Shack Cheese Sauce

1 T Canola Oil
6 thin slices Jalapeno
3/4 c Onion
1/2 T Salt
2 T Peppercorns
1 T White Wine Vinegar
2 T White Wine
2 c Heavy Cream
2 c American Cheese, shredded
2 c Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Heat a saucepan up and add the canola oil, and get it hot. Then add the jalapeno and the onions with the salt, and let everything soften. Deglaze with the vinegar and white wine, and add the cream. Turn off the heat and let everything steep for at least 30 minutes. Strain, and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and add the cheese, stirring until melted.
Serve over burgers or fries.
(image source: Wikimedia.org)



Christmas Treats I Made, 2019

For the holiday, I sent out care packages to several people I know. I made an old favorite and two new ones. Since I was shipping them, I picked things that I thought would travel well and survive to their destination. I packed them in reusable but disposable plastic containers, and I believe they all arrived in ok shape.

The old favorite was Scotcheroos , a recipe I learned from my wife’s family, years ago and share here. It’s layer of candied rice crispies, covered with a layer of “frosting,” made by melting chocolate and butterscotch morsels together for a couple of minutes in the microwave. Certainly not haute cuisine, but it’s a requirement in her family that when two or more are gathered together, a batch of scotcheroos must be made. Though I was thwarted and couldn’t send out as many as I wanted to. There was a local run on the butterscotch morsels. I went to at least half a dozen grocery stores in a 5 mile radius around my house. And I couldn’t find them anywhere. Ends up, every store I went to had them on sale, and every store was sold out. Either a lot of scotcheroos were being made, or more likely, I suspect, someone in the area bought them all up with the idea of selling them on the internet.

Which led to the next new item … Chocolate Pretzel Morsels . This is something my wife discovered when I made a batch of Scotcheroos and had too much of the frosting left over. Dipping little pretzels in the liquified chocolate and butterscotch morsels and letting the air dry. A nice little holiday hors d’oeuvre. Though, with the shortage of butterscotch morsels this year, I ended up mixing chocolate and peanut butter morsels. Just as good in this case. Maybe even better. Use the pretzels that are 1″ long and thick around as your thumb.

The last item was Paula Deen’s Pecan Praline Morsels . Three ingredients – heavy cream, brown sugar, and pecan halves, roasted in a hot oven until the liquid evaporates. Really easy to make, and really irresistible. I considered adding a bit of cayenne, but my wife nixed the idea. For what it’s worth, a single 2 cup bag of shelled pecan halves cost $8.99 this year.




Roast Broccoli Hero Sandwiches

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup bread-and-butter pickles, drained, plus 1/2 cup of their brine
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons Asian chili sauce, such as Sriracha, sambal oelek or gochujang
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 medium head broccoli (about 1 1/4 pounds), chopped into florets, stalk thinly sliced into coins
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Four 6-inch French bread rolls
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup prepared fried onions (preferably Lars Own Crispy Onions; see headnote)
  • 2 ounces ricotta salata, shaved

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the pickles and brine, garlic, ginger, chili sauce and toasted sesame oil in a medium bowl. Marinate at room temperature while you make the sandwiches.

Toss together the broccoli, oil and salt on a large baking sheet; roast until the broccoli is bright green, is starting to brown on the edges and is easily pierced with a fork but not soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool.

Position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element; preheat the broiler.

Split the rolls, leaving them hinged. Open them and set on a large baking sheet and lightly toast under the broiler, 1 to 2 minutes; watch closely to keep them from burning.

To assemble the sandwiches, lightly spread mayonnaise on the insides of the rolls. Divide the roasted broccoli evenly among them. Use a slotted spoon to lift the pickles out of their marinade and evenly distribute them on the broccoli, then layer the fried onions and ricotta salata on top.

Serve the pickle marinade with the sandwiches, for dipping.

Make Ahead:  The pickles can marinate in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in advance.




Hearty Beef and Hominy Chili

  • 1 lb ground lean beef (7% or less)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14½ ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • ¼ t salt
  • 1 (15 ounce) can hominy, rinsed and drained

Garnishes (optional)

  • 2 T chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 radishes, finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced

Combine beef, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic in a dutch oven and set over medium heat. Cook beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until chili thickens slightly, about 30 minutes. Stir in hominy and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Serve with optional garnishes.




Bay Leaf Seasoning

bay-leaves-turkish-organic-1Penzey’s Spices used to put out an herb mix that was great for roasting  chicken. Apparently, I was the only one who bought it, because they stopped selling it a couple years ago. Here’s how to make it yourself. Aside from the bay leaves, you’ll only use a portion of the other ingredients, so you can make multiple batches, or use them in your other recipes. Not counting the salt and pepper, the total cost today is 16.44.

1/2 oz bag bay leaves (2.65)
2 T thyme leaves (2.95)
2 T rosemary leaves (2.49)
1 T basil leaves (2.45)
1 T dried onion (2.95)
1 T oregano (2.95)
1/2 t ground pepper
2 T garlic salt (2.95)
1 T plain salt

Grind together in a food processor or spice grinder until it’s a course powder.




Braised Butternut Squash

This is an afghan recipe called bouranee kadu or borani kadoo. Traditionally, it’s made with pumpkin, but it’s easier to find and buy butternut squash, already peeled and cut, though you’ll probably need to cut some of the pieces into smaller chunks. It’s sometimes served as a whole meal, with a layer of spicy ground meat, but I think it’s best as a side dish, especially with roasted poultry. It’s perfect in the autumn.

borani1 pound butternut squash
1 medium yellow onion
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ tablespoon minced garlic
½ tablespoon minced ginger
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon chili powder or according to taste
½ tablespoon tomato paste or ½ cup tomato puree
1 cup water or stock (chicken or vegetable)
3 tablespoons sugar
salt
Dried or fresh mint for garnish

If you’re using a whole butternut squash, peel it, and using a spoon, scoop out the inner membrane and seeds. Cut the flesh into 1 inch cubes and set aside.

Peel and place the onion in a food processor and puree.

Heat oil in a medium heavy bottom pan or wok. Carefully add the onion puree and cook on medium-low heat untill it is golden, about 10 minutes. Then add ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander powder, and chili powder and stir for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Now add tomato paste or puree, water, sugar and salt, bring to a boil, while stirring.

Add the chopped butternut squash or pumpkin pieces. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the squash is cooked and slightly translucent, but still holding its shape, about 30 minutes. Add more water while cooking, if needed.

Garnish with mint and serve with garlic yogurt and naan.

Garlic Yogurt

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 clove garlic minced
Salt

Whisk everything together.




Time for Tomatoes

A yellow-green variety called Pork ChopIt’s about 10 weeks to last frost here in zone 7. So if you live near me, then it’s time to start your tomato and pepper seedlings.

This year, I’m trying five  new varieties… two big beefsteak heirlooms called Country Taste, and Grandma’s Pick; a medium-sized orange variety called Moonglow that’s supposed to be one of the best for straight-off-the-vine eating (though I would think that they would say that about all tomatoes, wouldn’t they?) ; a cherry variety called Sweet Million; and a yellow/green one called Pork Chop.

I’m also going to try growing the seedlings in egg shells that I have been saving since November. Supposedly, the added calcium will be a benefit to the plants down the road, but I’m wondering if it would be wiser to just handle the seedlings in a more normal way, and crush up the eggshells and add them when I put the plants in the ground.




Whole Foods-like Tomato Bisque

When I make this, I go to the trouble of peeling fresh tomatoes for this recipe, because I think the flavor benefits, but I know that’s more of a hassle than probably most people would go to. I usually start with two or three of the containers of fresh tomatoes that the sell at Costco. I’ll also shred the carrot using a food processor, but if you’d rather not dirty up your processor bowl, you can probably get away with finely dicing it. The vermouth is crucial for the flavor, so don’t skip it. And fresh dill can sometimes be really hard to find in the grocery store, but I’ve found a product that is a god-send … it’s fresh dill in a tube, like toothpaste, sold under the name “Gourmet Garden,” and I use it quite generously. You will find it in the produce department, and it works perfectly for this recipe. I’m told that this soup freezes well, but it’s never stayed around long enough for me to find out.

3-4 (or more) lbs fresh tomatoes, peeled and cored, or 3 large cans of organic tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
3 or 4 large carrots, shredded
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
olive oil
½ c dry vermouth
fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste

If you’re starting with fresh tomatoes, boil a pot of water, and fill another bowl with cold water. Cut an X, or just slit the skin on the bottoms of the tomatoes. Dunk the tomatoes, 6-8 at a time, in the boiling water until the skin starts to loosen. (It’ll wrinkle and start to peel.) Remove them with a spider and cool them off in the bowl of cold water until you can handle them. Remove the peel, and the stem/core, and cut the tomatoes into quarters, reserving as much as the liquid as you can.

Saute onions until translucent, add carrots and saute a few more minutes. Add garlic, and stir until fragrant. Deglaze with vermouth. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, add a generous amount (1 T, at least) of fresh dill, chopped. Simmer for 30-45 minutes. Taste, adjust seasoning. Puree with a stick blender, or in blender in batches.




Orecchiette with Sausage, Baby Kale, and Bell Pepper

(Even though this recipe is calls for orecchiette, I’ve made it with other shapes of pasta. Rigatoni works well.)

2 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed
Freshly cracked black pepper
14 oz sweet Italian chicken sausage, casing removed
6 cups baby kale
10 oz orecchiette (or other shaped pasta)
¼ cup grated pecorino romano
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

Start a large pot of water boiling, with 2 teaspoons of salt.

Meanwhile, heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion and red bell pepper, crushed garlic, and the rest of the salt. Cook, stirring until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the sausage using a wooden spoon, and brown for 10 minutes. Add the kale, and cover, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, then remove the cover, and stir and let the moisture evaporate.

Add the pasta to the boiling water, and cook according to the directions on the package. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Mix the sausage mixture and the pasta and the reserved water. Cook together until the water evaporates. Remove from heat and mix in the cheese and the optional red pepper flakes.




Chocolate Birthday Cake with Vanilla Frosting

I don’t often get called to make birthday cakes, but when I do, this is the recipe I use. It’s practically foolproof, and completely rich and delicious, with dark chocolate cake mounded with sweet, white frosting. I usually make it as a layer cake, but it works perfectly fine as a sheet cake or even cupcakes –just use the toothpick method to figure out the proper cooking time.

Cake :

butter, for the pans
3 c all-purpose flour, plus a little more for the pans
2/3 c cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 c sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 c canola (or corn) oil
2 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup water
1 cup cold coffee

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment.
  • Gently mix together the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl with the beater blade.
  • With the mixer on low, add the oil, vinegar, and vanilla, and mix, then add the water and the coffee, and blend until well mixed.
  • Pour the batter equally into the cake pans, and back for 30 minutes, swapping and turning them after 15. You know they’re done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool completely in the pans.

Frosting:

1-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan, and heat to 240° or soft-ball stage. Meanwhile, start beating the egg whites, the cream of tartar, and the salt in your mixer until foamy.
  • Once the sugar syrup is at temperature, resume beating the egg whites on high, and add the hot syrup in a slow drizzle.
  • Add the vanilla, and continue mixing until the frosting is glossy and the mixing bowl is cool to the touch.



Cauliflower Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
1 leek, cleaned and chopped (white and light green parts only)
1 t salt
1½ T butter
1 cauliflower (about 2 lbs. trimmed, cut in half, and sliced into ½ inch pieces)
4½ c water

cauliflowerIn a large pot, sweat the onions and leeks with the butter for about 5 minutes with the salt. Add half of the cauliflower, along with the stem which you’ve peeled and sliced, and the water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 or 20 minutes. Add the rest of the cauliflower, and simmer for another 15 minutes. Blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth.

When thinking like a weight-watcher, the only thing that you have to calculate, points-wise is the butter. Since this recipe makes about 6 servings, that works out to about 2 points a serving. Note: Don’t be tempted to replace the butter with bacon drippings, or the water with chicken stock — the soup is pretty delicate, and the strong flavors of these two items will overwhelm the subtle flavors of the cauliflower.

This recipe is based on an article in the September, 2013 issue of Cooks Illustrated. The reason why this recipe works, apparently, is the two stage cooking method. Cooking cauliflower for 15 minutes brings out the bright, pungent, cabbage-like flavors, while cooking it for 30 minutes brings out its nutty side. By splitting it up, you get the best of both worlds, but since neither flavor is going to knock you out, you can’t use other overpowering flavors, like garlic, bacon drippings, or chicken stock. And the beauty of the cauliflower is that when blended, you get all the satisfying feeling of a creamy soup without adding any cream.

The Cook’s Illustrated recipe goes on to have you add another 5 or so tablespoons of browned butter, plus some little bits of cauliflower sauteed in it, with a touch of sherry vinegar, but since I’m watching my weight, I eschewed the extra butter for a lower calorie soup.

 




Even More Recent Food Neologisms

A LOOK AT SOME OF THE NEWER WORDS AND PHRASES RELATED TO FOOD AND EATING.

haloodie n. A person who has an ardent interest in halal food. [halal + foodie]

bliss point n. The specific concentration of salt, sugar, or fat that makes a food maximally tasty.

food forest n. A garden that includes mostly food-producing plants, particularly fruit and nut trees, fruit bushes, vegetables, and herbs.

latte art n. A decorative image created by skillfully pouring steamed milk into an espresso.

flexivore n. A person who combines a mostly meat diet with the occasional vegetarian meal.

Courtesy of Word Spy.




Recent Food Neologisms

A look at some of the newer words and phrases about food.

pink slime n. An industrial meat byproduct consisting of compressed low quality beef trimmings treated with ammonia gas and used as a filler for ground beef.

100-foot diet n. A diet that consists mostly or exclusively of food grown in one’s garden.

pollotarian n. A person who supplements a vegetarian diet with poultry. 

diabulimia n. An eating disorder in which a diabetic person attempts to lose weight by regularly omitting insulin injections.

window farm n. A small, vertical, hydroponic garden installed by a window and used for growing crops such as herbs and vegetables. 

embedded water n. Water used in the production of food. “New research shows that we throw away, on average, twice as much embedded water per year in the form of uneaten food as we use for washing and drinking.”

Courtesy of Word Spy, and Schott’s Vocab.




How to pack okra for pickles

After you’ve trimmed off a bit of the stem end, and a bit of the pointy end, pack your one pint sterilized jars with okra, first filling the bottom with the enough okra to fill the bottom of the jar, thick end pointing down. Then cram as many more as you can in between then, thick end pointing up. Then tuck in as many tiny okra as you can in and around the top area. 2 pounds of okra should fill about 5 pint jars.




Roasted Summer Bounty Sauce

When the production of your garden really starts to kick in during the summer, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed with the bounty. This recipe helps, because by roasting down all of the vegetables, you intensify their flavor. And you’ll love the aroma of the roasting vegetables.

Aside from the tomatoes and the garlic, you can add or subtract any vegetable, depending on what you have too much of. Swap eggplant and/or zucchini in place of the carrots. Add some bell peppers if you have them.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large roasting pan, combine:

6 pounds tomatoes (plums are best, but some additional cherry tomatos will sweeten the sauce), cored and quartered
1½ c. coarsely chopped carrots (optional)
1½ c. coarsely chopped celery (optional)
1½ c. coarsely chopped onions
9 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
6 T. balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
1½ t. each fresh thyme, oregano, basil, and parsley
1½ t. salt
1 T. freshly ground pepper

Roast all of these for 45 minutes or until everything is soft (I’ve left it going for almost 2 hours with no ill-effects). Remove the bay leaf and whatever herb stems you can find, and pulse in a food processor or blender or even a hand whizzer, but leave it slightly chunky. Freeze in 2 cup portions. Makes 2 quarts.




Best Damn Smoked Chicken Recipe, period

This may be the best thing that could ever happen to a chicken.

I get a whole lot of compliments on this one. There are some members of my extended family who insist I bring this to any family gathering, regardless of the time of year. The technique of putting lit coals over top of unlit coals ensures a nice, long burn, and will provide enough heat for the 2-hour long cooking time. This recipe specifically relies on using a Webber kettle grill. You’ll need to further experiment in order to come up with the proper technique for a different kind of grill.

2 whole chickens, 3 to 4 pounds each
2 fist-sized lumps of chunk fruit wood
1 aluminium drip pan, 10×14
20 – 30 charcoal briquettes
cooking spray
1 cup salt
1 cup sugar
7 quarts of water

Take two chickens and cut them each into 8 pieces — 2 breasts, 2 wings, 2 drumsticks, and 2 thighs. Save the rest for chicken stock. Brine the chicken in 6 quarts of water that you’ve dissolved a cup of sugar and a cup of salt for 30 minutes to an hour. Remove the chicken from the brine and dry with paper towel. Season it with pepper, and spray both sides with cooking spray.

Soak wood in water for 15 minutes. (I’ve tried both apple and cherry wood, and can’t detect any difference in flavor, but do avoid mesquite because it’s just too strong a flavor.)

Light half a chimney full of briquettes and let burn in chimney until the top is white with ash. In your kettle grill, put an aluminum pan on one side and fill it with a quart of water. On the other side, put in 20 unlit briquettes, and nestle the wood chunks in it. Close the top and bottom vents of the grill to the halfway point. Pour the lit charcoal over top of the wood and the unlit charcoal, and put on the grill, and let it heat for 5 minutes with the lid on, then clean the grill and put on the chicken, skin side up, and putting the breasts around the outside, over top of the pan of water, furthest from the heat. Put the cover back on, and let the chicken cook undisturbed for 90 to 120 minutes.




Frenchman’s Franks & Beans

1 T olive oil
1 large leek

1 stalk of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 or 3 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 small to medium russet potato, peeled and quartered
stock
or water
1 cup puy lentils
bunch of fresh spinach, chopped fine

salt & pepper

3 T balsamic or other vinegar
1 lb. (4) sausages (optional for vegetarians)

Trim and clean the leek, concentrating on the white and pale part, and cutting it into a small dice. (Reserve some of the dark green part for later.) Put in a heavy bottomed sauce pan with olive oil and the celery and carrot, and cook until the leeks have gone soft, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make a bundle of the herbs and tie it inside the reserved dark green leek with some kitchen string, add it and the potato, and the lentils to the pot, and cover with water or stock (or both). Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, monitoring to make sure the water doesn’t completely boil away before the lentils are tender but chewy.

Pierce the sausages with a fork, and cook them in a little simmering water, covered, for 5 or 10 minutes. Remove the lid, and let the water evaporate. If the sausages don’t shed enough grease while they are simmering, add a little butter or olive oil, and, turning frequently, brown over medium low heat.

When the lentils are tender, remove the herb bundle, and mash the potato (now softened) on the side of the pan to thicken the sauce. Add the chopped spinach and let it all cook down for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, taste for seasoning, and add the vinegar. Slice the sausages, and serve on top of the lentils.

One serving of the lentils is ½ cup, and is 3 points. One Whole Foods chicken sausage with basil and sun dried tomatoes is 4 points.




Hungarian Goulash

2 large red bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lb boneless beef shank, or normal stew beef, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
Kosher salt & pepper
2 large onions, chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 t caraway seeds, toasted and ground
3 T Hungarian sweet paprika
3 T all-purpose flour
2 T red wine vinegar
1 15 oz can tomatoes, diced
2 c low sodium beef broth
2 c low sodium chicken broth, or water
2 large russet potatoes, cubed
½ c lite sour cream
8 oz wide egg noodles, cooked according to package

Preheat the oven to 450°. Roast the peppers on the rack for 15 or 20 minutes, turning once. Remove them from the oven, and put them in a paper sack until they are cool enough to handle. Pull out the core, remove the skin and all of the seeds, and slice into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Reduce the oven to 350°.

Trim the fat from the beef, brown in small batches in a dutch oven. Pour off the oil if it is scorched, and replace with fresh. Cook the onion until it is wilted, then add the garlic, the roasted red pepper, and the spices and cook until fragrant. Add the flour and stir until dissolved. Add the vinegar, tomatoes, and stock (or water) and bring to a simmer. Clamp on the lid, and put it in the oven for 1 hour in the oven.

Stir in the potatoes, and cook partially covered either in the oven or on the stovetop until the potatoes are tender. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and stir in the sour cream. At this point, you might decide to let the whole thing cool and then refrigerate for a day. (Some people think it improves the flavor.) When ready, serve over egg noodles.




Thanksgiving Recipes

Here’s a list of recipes and techniques from the archives.

What’s a “Heritage” Turkey? — information on whether you should bother with this expensive variety of turkey.

My Turkey Plans — This post has a recipe and instructions for brining a turkey.

Roasted Turkey : An Old-Fashioned Method — Larding a turkey has you putting sliced bacon or salt pork on the turkey to keep it moist.

Wild Rice Stuffing — With chestnuts and onions, this recipe works well with any poultry dish.

Broccoli Supreme — An easy side dish with broccoli and creamed corn that everyone loves. It’s easily doubled or tripled, and don’t count on leftovers.

Here’s a new recipe for cranberry relish. Take a bag of whole cranberries and pick out the soft ones. Put them in a wide saucepan along with a little water and bring it to a boil along with a cup of sugar and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat and simmer, along with a diced apple, some finely chopped orange peel and the juice of the same orange. Optionally, you can toss in a handful of chopped walnuts or pecans and/or some chopped orange segments. You can also optionally spice it up with some cinnamon, ground star anise, or ground cloves.  Cook until the cranberries have all popped and the sauce thickens. Cool, then chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.