Sunday, August 4, 2013

Jeni's Brown Butter Almond Brittle Ice Cream

Even more rich and decadant then it's name implies. 

This recipe is another one from my Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home Cookbook.  It is not for the faint of heart.  Be ready to put in some time and elbow grease (not recommended for beginner chefs...I'm still figuring out how to properly brown butter.)  If you are among the brave souls willing to put in the time, you will reap the reward of one of the most rich and luxurious ice creams ever tasted.  The brown butter gives an incredible decadence, with the sweet and salty mix of homemade toffee.  I would describe it as amaze-balls.

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 cup bite-sized Almond Brittle*, plus larger shreds for garnish (optional)
*scroll down for recipe below

Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.  Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.  Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a 4-quart saucepan.  Bring to a boil and let bubble until the foam starts to subside and the butter is a rich dark brown (not black).  Remove from the heat and let stand until the butter solids settle to the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes.

Pour the clear yellow butter oil into a storage container.  As you get closer to the butter solids in the bottom of the pan, use a teaspoon to remove as much liquid butter as you can.  You should have about 1 tablespoon of the brown butter solids and a little bit of melted fat in the bottom of the pan (it is impossible to remove all of the melted fat).

Add the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup to the butter solids, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.

Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute (it should coat the back of a wooden spoon.)  Remove from heat.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath.  Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.  Pack the ice cream into a storage container, folding in the chopped almond brittle as you go.  Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Recipe for Almond Brittle
Makes about 1 cup

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces (2 cups) slivered almonds
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Generously oil a large baking sheet.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt in a 4-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Insert a candy thermometer in the pan, add the butter, and bring back to a boil, then cook until the mixture reaches 300 degrees F.  Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the almonds and then the baking soda, working quickly but combining them thoroughly.

Pour the mixture out onto the oiled baking sheet, spreading it into a 1/4-inch-thick layer.  Allow to cool completely.  Break apart with your hands, and then chop into small pieces for recipe above.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Whole-Wheat Linguine with Green Beans, Ricotta and Lemon

Vegetarian Sunday, in a Snap

Easy vegetarian dinner, with big flavor.  I was surprised how delicious this was!  The grilled greenbeans give a warm, savory flavor.  Recipe from Giada's Kitchen.

4-6 Servings
1 pound whole-wheat linguine
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound French green beans (haricots verts), trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
Zest of 1 lemon

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.  Transfer the hot pasta to a large heat-proof bowl and add the ricotta.  Toss to combine.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the green beans, garlic, salt and pepper and saute for 4 minutes.  Add the reserved pasta cooking liquid and continue cooking until the beans are tender, about 4 more minutes.  Add the ricotta-coated pasta to the pan with the green beans and toss to combine.  Add the tomatoes and toss gently.  Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with the lemon zest.  Serve immediately.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Grilled Romaine and Bacon Salad

Shown here with Seared Filet

It has been far too long since I've posted.  I had a baby girl at the end of March, and have had little time and / or energy to cook, let alone post.  This recipe is a little involved, but not too complicated.  The flavor is hearty and smoky, pairing nicely to steak, hamburgers or other hearty meats.  This also comes from This is a Cookbook - Recipes for Real Lifeby Max and Eli Sussman. I am, apparently, obsessed.

Serves 4
8 oz slab bacon, cut crosswise into small chunks

2 hearts of romaine lettuce, cored and separated into leaves
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grill
1 apple, preferably granny smith or honeycrisp, cored and sliced
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (I opted not to use these)

For the Vinaigrette
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a frying pan over medium-low heat, cook the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to paper towels to drain.  Reserve the bacon fat for the vinaigrette.

To make the vinaigrette, in a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, the 1 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp of the warm bacon fat, and salt and pepper to taste.  Add a little more bacon fat if you like a smokier flavor.

Build a hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill to high (or, in my case, fire up your grill pan over medium-high heat).  Using a grill brush, scrape the heated grill rack clean (skip this step for the grill pan.)  Rub the rack with oil.  In a large bowl, combine the romaine leaves with the 2 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and toss to coat thoroughly.  Working in batches if necessary, arrange the leaves in a single layer on the grill rack and grill until just wilted, turning once, 2-3 minutes.

As it comes off the grill, transfer the wilted romaine to a large salad bowl.  Add the vinaigrette, bacon, and apple and toss well.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Garnish with pumpkin seeds and serve right away.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Orzo Salad

Shown Here with Pan Roasted Halibut

This simple recipe is a true stunner.  Another winner from  This is a Cookbook - Recipes for Real Lifeby Max and Eli Sussman.  Tastes amazing freshly served, but even better once it's had a day in the fridge for the flavors to combine.  Perfect for a Spring picnic or as a healthy side to keep around the house weekly lunches.

Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz / 33g) dried orzo*

For the Vinaigrette
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 english cucumber, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup kalmata olives, pitted
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup
extra virgin olive oil

*In a pinch, if you can't find orzo, the chef recommends penne or couscous as a substitute.  Salad tastes even better the next day after the flavors can combine in the fridge!

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the orzo and cook until al dente, according to package directions.  Drain thoroughly and set aside.

To make the vinaigrette, put the parsley in a blender.  With the machine running, slowly drizzle the 3 Tbsp olive oil through and a smooth puree forms, stopping the machine to scrape down the sides of the jar as needed.  Just before mixing with the pasta, add the 2 Tbsp lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste and process until emulsified.

Put the orzo in a large serving bowl.  Add the vinaigrette and toss until well coated.  Add the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, feta, olives, lemon juice, and the 1/2 cup olive oil and toss gently to mix well.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Serve right away.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chicken Adobo

So tender the skin literally falls off of the bone

This recipe comes from an AWESOME new cookbook that Mike got me for Christmas: This is a Cookbook - Recipes for Real Life, by Max and Eli Sussman.  See the Note from the Chef below for more insight where this recipe comes from.  Beware of bringing leftovers to work - the soy sauce and vinegar flavor are a little intense to the unlucky person sitting next to you who doesn't get to enjoy the amazing flavor.

Note from the Chef:
This dish is adapted from an original family recipe of a close friend in Los Angeles who was a partner in a Filipino Food Truck.  The truck tore through the streets introducing hungry Angelenos to the mad tasty flavors of Filipino fare.  The food received rave reviews.  Now you can cook a painfully easy version of a favorite dish at home.

2 Tbsp olive oil
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2lb total weight)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup tamari soy sauce
6 whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
Steamed white rice for serving (I like the Trader Joe's microwavable sprouted brown rice)

In a Dutch oven or large, heavy bottomed saute pan with a tight-fitting lid, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute just until lightly browned, about 1 minute.  Add the vinegar, soy sauce, peppercorns, and bay leaves.

Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer very gently for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

To serve, spoon a bed of steamed rice onto each plate.  Arrange the chicken on top of each, dividing it evenly.   Pour the pan sauce over the chicken and serve right away.
Serves 2
This paired nicely with a Kale Salad, served with an Apple Cider vinegar dressing