Monday, August 27, 2007

That Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing . . .

That Cafe Rio thing has become a favorite of "ours", particularly that sweet pork they put on their salads. Their salad dressings are homemade and I'm partial to the Cilantro Lime one . . . I only want a salad there just because this dressing is so delicious.

1/2 c olive oil
1 lime, juiced
4 garlic cloves
1/2 c cilantro
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 t. sugar
1/8 t. salt

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cilantro leaves, and black pepper. Process until smooth. Add sugar and salt to taste. Makes 1/2 cup.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mini Brioche Rolls

Brioche always intimidated me until I saw Ina make it recently. A visual can sometimes really help me out. She served them with a homemade strawberry jam she quickly cooked on the stove. I'm in.

1/2 cup warm water (110 to 120 degrees F)
1 package dried yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
6 eggs, at room temperature
4 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash

Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (If the bowl is cold, start with warmer water so it's at least 110 degrees F when you add the yeast.) Mix with your hands and allow to stand for 5 minutes until the yeast and sugar dissolve. Add the eggs and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until well mixed. With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and mix for 5 minutes. With the mixer still on low, add 2 more cups of flour and mix for 5 more minutes. Still on low speed, add the soft butter in chunks and mix for 2 minutes, scraping down the beater, until well blended. With the mixer still running, sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Switch the paddle attachment to a dough hook and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Grease 2 sheet pans. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and divide the dough into 20 (1 3/4-ounce) balls (rolls) and place on the sheet pans. Cover the pans with a damp towel and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the rolls have risen, brush the top of each with the egg wash and bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops spring back and it sounds slightly hollow when tapped. Turn the rolls out onto a wire rack to cool

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Angel Food Cake

I prefer a plain angel food cake with a hot fudge sauce. My husband likes berries with his. . . and in New England many bakeries sell angel food cake with a rich chocolate frosting. Yes, I miss you Yum Yum Bakery. You and your Parker House Rolls. Give Ina's angel food cake a try.

2 cups sifted superfine sugar, divided
1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 cups egg whites, at room temperature (10 to 12 eggs)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine 1/2 cup of sugar with the flour and sift together 4 times. Set aside.

Place the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on high speed until the eggs make medium-firm peaks, about 1 minute. With the mixer on medium speed, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar by sprinkling it over the beaten egg whites. Whisk for a few minutes until thick and shiny. Whisk in the vanilla and continue to whisk until very thick, about 1 more minute. Sift about 1/4 of the flour mixture over the egg whites and fold it into the batter with a rubber spatula. Continue adding the flour by fourths by sifting and folding until it's all incorporated.

Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, smooth the top, and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, until it springs back to the touch. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the pan on a cooling rack until cool.

Add 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons) if you prefer a Lemon Angel Food Cake.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Carrot Orange Ginger Dressing

I love Every day they send me an email with all their good and healthy "food finds" and recipes for slimming down fat filled things I love. I paid attention to this one, first, because I love ginger. More is better. Second, zero Weight Watchers' points. Free food. Gotta love it.

1 cup freshly grated carrot
1/2 cup orange juice
2 T. pickled ginger, roughly chopped (sushi ginger)
salt and pepper to taste

Place carrot and ginger in a blender and cover with orange juice. Blend at slow speed until mixture is pureed. Increase blender speed until dressing is smooth. Makes six 2-tablespoon servings.

(2 tbsp: 20 calories, 0g fat, 75mg sodium, 5g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 3g sugars, 0g protein = 0 WW Points)

Nana's Chili Sauce

Makes me smile to add this recipe. It conjures up a real memory for me. My grandmother lived with us . . . and this was a signature recipe of hers. And nothing smells as good on a stove as this recipe simmering. Don't let the name fool you . . . it's more of a relish. And it's fabulous on chicken or fish . . . anything. It's worth the chopping for the smell alone.

6 14.5 oz. cans tomatoes
3 large green peppers, chopped
6 large onions, chopped
2 cups vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 T. salt
1 t. cloves
1 t. allspice
1/2 t. cinnamon
red pepper to taste
Cook till soft

This is as specific as it gets, which is funny to me. Live a little. Give it a try.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Lemon Fusilli with Arugula

Yikes. This cream sauce (not usually my thing) is SO flavorful. Garlic and lemon . . . and simple. I had no broccoli and no grape tomatoes . . . I added a few sun-dried tomatoes instead and a little more cheese. The secret is in that garlic lemon sauce, for sure.

This just further reinforces my need to have heavy cream in the fridge at all times.

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 cups heavy cream
3 lemons
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch broccoli
1 pound dried fusilli pasta
1/2 pound baby arugula (or 2 bunches of common arugula, leaves cut in thirds)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds. Add the cream, the zest from 2 lemons, the juice of 2 lemons, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.
Meanwhile, cut the broccoli in florets and discard the stem. Cook the florets in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain the broccoli and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta in a colander and place it back into the pot. Immediately add the cream mixture and cook it over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until most of the sauce has been absorbed in the pasta. Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl, add the arugula, Parmesan, tomatoes, and cooked broccoli. Cut the last lemon in half lengthwise, slice it 1/4-inch thick crosswise, and add it to the pasta. Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Daffodil Cake . . .

I'm not going to kid you here . . . this is a really difficult cake. It's a combination of chiffon cake and angel food cake and I believe it's disappearing from pastry chef culture . . . you never hear about it anymore. This is my mum's favorite . . .

10 egg whites
1 t. cream of tartar
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups sifted flour
6 egg yolks
1/2 t. orange extract
1/2 cup sifted cake flour
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Wash tube pan in hot soapy water to ensure it is totally grease free.

Whip egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and salt and continue to whip. When whites form soft peaks gradually sprinkle in sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Remove half of whipped egg whites to a separate bowl.

Fold 3/4 cup of cake flour, orange extract and egg yolks into one half of the egg whites until evenly blended. Fold remaining 1/2 cup cake flour into other bowl of egg whites, along with the vanilla. Spoon 1 cup of batter at a time, alternating colors, into the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes and reduce heat to 325. Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when pressed. Without removing cake from pan invert it onto a wire rack to cool.

Golden Vanilla Layer Cake

This is from Gale Gand's Chocolate and Vanilla (see previous post below).

3 cups flour
1 T. baking powder
1 cup softened butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. almond extract
1 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 375. Butter and flour walls of two 9-inch round cake pans and line bottom with circle of parchment paper.

Sift flour and baking powder and set aside. In mixer beat butter with sugar until blended. One at a time add eggs. Whip in vanilla and almond extracts. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternating with milk and ending with flour. Mix until just combined.

Pour into prepared cake pans and bake until golden and firm, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans.

One note: if you're adding almond with vanilla it HAS to be good. Anything is better with almond extract.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Pavlova . . .

4 egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch salt
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Sweetened Whipped Cream

1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
Triple Raspberry Sauce, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees F. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Draw a 9-inch circle on the paper, using a 9-inch plate as a guide, then turn the paper over so the circle is on the reverse side. (This way you won't get a pencil mark on the meringue.)

Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula. Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, making a rough disk. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour. It will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

Invert the meringue disk onto a plate and spread the top completely with sweetened whipped cream. Combine the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in a bowl and toss with about 1/2 cup of raspberry sauce, or enough to coat the berries lightly. Spoon the berries carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately in large scoops with extra raspberry sauce.

Sweetened Whipped Cream:

1 cup cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Don't overbeat!

Yield: 1 cup

Triple Raspberry Sauce:

1 half-pint fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup seedless raspberry jam (12-ounce jar)
1 tablespoon framboise liqueur (I omitted)

Place the raspberries, sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.

Yield: 2 cups