15 April 2014

Minestrone with Pesto Sauce | Soups and Stews

Minestrone (c) Jennifer Carr Photography


Minestrone
Adapted from Wolfgang Puck Makes it Easy

Ingredients

1/2 cup navy beans, soaked and drained
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp evoo
2 ounces pancetta, chopped
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 small potatoes, cubed
1 medium zucchini, cut into small pieces
3 springs fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup pesto sauce (recipe follows)

*This soup can be cooked on the stove, but cooking it in a pressure cooker increases the flavors.  

Directions

Heat pressure cooker over medium heat, add oil and pancetta, browning about 5 minutes.  Remove pancetta pieces, leaving liquid behind.

Stir in tomatoes, 3 cups of broth, beans, carrots, parsley, zucchini, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes.  Allow pressure to release, adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serve topped with pesto sauce and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Pesto Sauce
Adapted from Cuisines of the Alps

Ingredients

1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup evoo

Directions

Combine basil and cheese in a food processor and process until relatively smooth.  With motor running, add in evoo in a stream until desired consistency.

11 March 2014

Brioche | Yeast Bread



Poor Man’s Brioche
Adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

Ingredients

For the sponge
1/2 cup bread flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/2 cup whole milk, lukewarm

For the dough
2 large eggs
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

Directions
To make the sponge, in the stand mixer bowl, add the 1/2 cup flour, yeast, and lukewarm milk and stir with spoon until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for about an hour until it looks frothy.

To make the dough, add the four eggs to the sponge and whisk until everything is combined. In a separate medium bowl, stir or whisk together the 3 1/4 cups of flour, sugar and salt. Mix to combine.  Let rest for 5 minutes. 

Using the dough hook, add the butter two tablespoons at a time, wait until the butter is completely mixed in before you add the next two tablespoons. Increase the speed to medium low and knead the dough for about 6 to 8 minutes. Add a little more flour if the dough seems too sticky: It should easily clear the sides of the bowl in the mixer. The dough should be very smooth and warm, and light when it’s done.

Lightly oil a bowl, and transfer the dough to it. Cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise for about an hour and a half to two hours, or until it’s doubled in size.

When it’s ready, shape it into either small rolls or into a rectangle for a loaf. Let the dough rise again for another hour, or until it fills the pan.

Preheat the oven to 400F, and bake the bread for about 35 to 40 minutes.


Remove the bread from the mold or pan as soon as it comes out of the oven and let it cool on a rack. 

04 March 2014

Forrest's Honey Mustard

Forrest's Honey Mustard

Ingredients

  • 1/8 cup dried mustard
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 3 1/2 tbsp coconut vinegar
  • 1/2 oz honey
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 oz plain yogurt
  • 1/2 oz porter or stout beer
Directions
Mix mustard and sugar together.  Whisk in vinegar, honey, and lemon juice.  Whisk in yogurt.  Whisk in stout or porter to desired consistency.

17 February 2014

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake



Moist Chocolate Cake
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup brewed, cooled coffee, or water
  • 4 large eggs
Directions
Sift  flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa, and sugar into a medium bowl.
Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and and mix at low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the oil.
Combine the vanilla with the milk and coffee or water.  Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, alternately add flour mixture and milk mixture. Mix at low speed until combined, stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then mix for 30 seconds.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well at medium-high speed between additions. The batter will be thin.
Pour the batter into two 9" greased round pans. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 28 to 30 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before frosting.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Cheese Mousse
Adapted from Cookies and Cups
  • 8 oz whipping cream
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Directions
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, whisk the cream on high speed until peaks form, about 2 minutes.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the cream cheese and hazelnut spread until smooth. With mixer on low, slowly add powdered sugar and vanilla, beat until smooth.

Fold in whipped cream.


13 February 2014

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Buns


These cinnamon buns are surprisingly simple to prepare.  I like to double the filling and the glaze, but it's still yummy as directed. 

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Buns
Adapted from The Best of Cooking Light

Ingredients
Buns:
  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
Glaze:
  • 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
To prepare the buns, dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Add 2 cups flour, pumpkin, and next 5 ingredients (pumpkin through nutmeg); beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of the remaining 3/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place , free from drafts, for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into the dough. If an indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)
Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Punch dough down; cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll the dough into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Roll up the rectangle tightly, starting with a long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal. Cut roll into 12 (1-inch) slices. Place slices in a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 25 minutes or until doubled in size.
Bake the rolls at in preheated oven at 375° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes in pan on a wire rack.
To prepare the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon water, and vanilla extract in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle glaze over buns. Serve warm.

Cranberry-Orange Scones


Some days scones are just necessary.

Cranberry-Orange Scones
adapted from The Williams Sonoma Baking Book

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (15oz) all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • grated zest of 1 orange, or 1 tsp orange oil
  • 10 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz) cold buttermilk
  • 1 cup (6 oz) frozen or dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice, or as needed


Directions
Preheat oven to 425.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest.  Add the butter to the flour mixture.  Using a pastry blender cut the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture all at once and stir until a sticky dough forms.  Stir in the cranberries until evenly distributed.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  With floured hands, gently knead the dough 8-10 strokes, it will be very soft.  Press the dough into a thick circle.  Cut into 8 pieces.
Place the wedges, 2 inches apart onto a baking sheet or pizza stone.  Bake until the scones are golden brown 14-18 minutes.  Transfer to wire racks.
In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar with the orange juice until smooth.  Adjust the consistency with a little more juice, if needed; it should be thick but pourable.  Using a pastry brush, top warm scone with glaze.  Let stand 10 minutes to set.

Homemade Tortillas

Tortillas have long been something I would like to perfect.  This recipe is about as close as I've gotten yet.  These were perfect served with beans and rice, but would also be excellent with guacamole or cheese dip.




Thin Tortillas
Adapted from King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups (5 1/2 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (2 3/4 ounces) yellow cornmeal
  • 4 tbsp (1 3/4 ounces) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp (4 1/2 ounces) water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Directions
Combine flour, cornmeal and oil in a medium bowl.  Slowly mix in water and salt.  Knead briefly, until dough becomes smooth.  

Divide dough into 10 pieces, weighing about 1 1/4 ounces each.  Round the pieces into balls and press to flatten slightly.  Let rest, covered, for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat a griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.
Flatten dough balls into 8 inch rounds using either a tortilla press, rolling pin, or your hands.  Fry the tortillas in an ungreased pan for about 45 seconds on each side.
Serve warm or at room temperature.