Saturday, December 31, 2011

#100 - Fragoloska

Well, here we are - recipe #100. And just in the nick of time too, only three hours left in 2011. Now we already brought some appetizers, but what New Year's Eve party is complete without some festive beverages?


A Hungry Hundred Original Recipe #100 is a Hungry Hundred Original. It's a New Year's Eve drink, and since New Year's is Johnnys birthday, we knew it had to be a strawberry libation. So we took some inspiration from the Villa Cookbook, made a strawberry sauce, and went from there. And it was pretty good. It's our version of a Caipiroska - a deliciously fruity drink we used to have in Italy.

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Now, having completed our New Year's Resolution of 2011, you may be wondering what our plans are for 2012. Well, we're not going to be doing anything crazy like taking 365 pictures or making 100 new recipes, but after all the fun we've had with this project, Emily will be starting something new and exciting. She's starting a new baking business called BB Sweets. She'll be making cute desserts for birthday parties, bridal showers, weddings, or any other exciting event and she'll be making everything from cupcakes to cake pops to plated desserts. Check out her site on Facebook and become a fan!

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Happy New Year everybody!
  • 1 pint strawberries, cut in half, keeping several for garnishing
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Lemon, juiced
  • Orange juice
  • Vodka
  1. In a food processor, puree the strawberries and sugar.
  2. Add some of the freshly squeezed lemon juice into the mixture.
  3. In a cocktail shaker, place two parts strawberry puree, one part vodka, and a splash of orange juice.
  4. Shake to combine, and serve over ice with a strawberry for garnish.

#99 - Melted Bacon-Cheese Toasts

We headed out of our house not to return again until 2012, two recipes still to be completed by midnight. Those last two would have to be completed at Nori and Gio's house, the site of this year's New Year's Eve party.

This one is an appetizer that we had at Peppi's house for the first time last Thanksgiving, and then we had it again this Thanksgiving, and we knew it was too good to have only once a year.

Melted Bacon-Cheese Toasts

From Luke Jones So as you can see from the ingredients, this is basically bacon, cheese, mayo, and onions on little tiny pieces of toast. What's not to like? And the steps are pretty easy too. You cook and chop the bacon. You mix it with the cheese, onions, and mayo. And then you plop them on the little pumpernickel toasts. Once they come out the broiler, they are magically delicious. The mayo binds everything for mixing, but the final topping doesn't become too greasy or anything. It's delicious bacon and cheddar, lightly browned on crispy toasts. Next time you have to bring an appetizer to some sort of party, if you're going to have access to the broiler, make these. We're pretty sure whoever's hosting will forgive you for using their precious oven space.
  • 1 lb bacon
  • 8 oz white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 package cocktail pumpernickel bread
  1. Fry the bacon strips until crispy, over medium heat.
  2. Crumble the cooked bacon into small pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the bacon, cheese, and onion.
  4. Add enough mayonnaise to moisten the mixture and bind it together.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Spread the cocktail toasts on a large baking sheet.
  7. Place a spoonful of the bacon-cheese mixture on each toast.
  8. Broil toasts until the cheese is melted and the toast crisps up.

#98 - Breakfast Pizza

It's New Year's Eve, and we still have three recipes to go! That's what happens when you're away from home from Christmas morning until December 30th. Nothing we can do about that now - that's why we're up early making a new breakfast for #98.

Breakfast Pizza

From Smitten Kitchen This is another Smitten Kitchen recipe, and it's one we've been planning on doing all year. Good thing we had this resolution to actually get us to finally make it. So you roll out your dough, and cover it with Parmigiano cheese, mozzarella, and bacon. Then you crack some eggs on top and put the whole thing in the oven. Once it's out of the oven, you top it off with some parsley, scallions, and shallots. Ooooh, this was delicious. The concept of breakfast pizza was always intriguing, and this did not disappoint. The eggs were runny, the scallions and shallots added a lot of flavor and texture, the Parmigiano and mozzarella went incredibly well with the eggs and bacon, and the pizza crust was the perfect alternative for breakfast toast. We can't say enough about this breakfast. Don't wait a year to make this. You don't know what you're missing.
  • 1 lb pizza dough
  • 3 strips bacon
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 3 large eggs
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs flat-leaf parsley, minced
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 and adjust the rack to the lowest position.
  2. Fry the bacon in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until crisp.
  3. Cool on a paper towel-lined plate, then roughly chop.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, pat the dough into a disc and then carefully stretch it out to form a 12-inch circle.
  5. Flour the surface of of a pizza stone and place the stretched dough on it.
  6. Sprinkle the dough with the Parmigiano, mozzarella, and bacon.
  7. Crack the eggs over the top and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Bake the pizza for 8-10 minutes, rotating after 5 minutes.
  9. When the crust is golden, the cheese is melted, and the egg yolks are cooked, remove from the oven.
  10. Sprinkle the parsley, scallions, and shallots on top.
  11. Let stand for 2 minutes, slice, and serve immediately.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

#97 - Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Praline Chocolate Crunch

For Christmas Eve, we were responsible for dessert. Since it's a big occasion - and most likely the last dessert of the Hungry Hundred - we decided to go big or go home.

And what could be bigger than this? A crazy-complex cake from Next Iron Chef runner-up Elizabeth Falkner.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Praline Chocolate Crunch

From Elizabeth Falkner If you couldn't tell from the ingredients, this is a chocolate-hazelnut cake. You need chopped hazelnuts, hazelnut butter, hazelnut oil, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and cocoa powder. This recipe has a hundred components, and a million steps, so instead of stepping you through it, we're just going to let the pictures do the talking. We knew this cake was gonna be crazy. But it was also crazy good. All the layers in the cake - the sponge cake, the praline mousse, the nut ganache, and the chocolate glaze - are all delicious.

But the best part, by far, was the praline chocolate crunch. We could eat that by itself forever. It was crispy and crunchy, sweet and salty, hazelnuty and chocolatey. It was really good. If you don't have the patience or energy to make this ridiculous dessert, just make the crunch. You'll like it. We promise.

Praline Chocolate Crunch
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups blanched hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1 tsp hazelnut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 4 oz high-quality milk chocolate
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 3/4 cup puffed rice cereal
  1. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Stir the sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Increase the heat, and cook without stirring, occasionally swirling the pan until amber in color, about 7-8 minutes.
  4. Stir in the hazelnuts.
  5. Pour the mixture onto one of the prepared sheets, separating the nuts.
  6. Let cool completely.
  7. Transfer candied nuts to a food processor.
  8. Add the hazelnut oil and puree until smooth to make the praline paste.
  9. Combine both chocolates and 3 Tbs of the praline paste in a medium metal bowl, reserving the remaining praline paste for later.
  10. Set the bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water.
  11. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  12. Remove bowl from heat and stir in the salt and then the cereal.
  13. Spread the mixture out in a thin layer on the second prepared baking sheet.
  14. Chill until set, about 30 minutes.

Cocoa Sponge Cake
  • Unsalted butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 tbs corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup brandy or orange liqueur
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line a 17x11x1-inch sheet pan with parchment paper and butter the paper.
  3. Sift flour and cocoa powder into a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. Separate 4 eggs, placing the yolks in a large bowl and the white in a medium bowl.
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat the yolks with 1/2 cup sugar on medium speed until thick and light yellow, about 3 minutes.
  6. Beat in the other 4 whole eggs, one at a time, blending well between each addition.
  7. Using clean, dry beaters, beat the egg whites with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the corn syrup until slightly thickened and frothy, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture and beat to blend.
  9. Add the flour-cocoa mixture, and fold just to blend.
  10. Spread out evenly on the prepared sheet pan.
  11. Bake about 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  12. Let cool completely.
  13. Invert the cooked cake onto a large cutting board and peel off the parchment paper.
  14. Brush cake all over with brandy.

Nut Ganache
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut butter
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  1. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil.
  2. Puree the hot cream, hazelnut butter, and salt in a food processor.
  3. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. With the food processor running, add the butter, 1 Tbs at a time, pureeing until smooth between each addition.

Praline Mousse
  • 3 1/2 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup hazelnut praline paste (reserved from praline chocolate crunch)
  • 5 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
  • 1 3/4 cup chilled heavy cream, divided
  1. Combine chocolate, praline paste, and butter in a medium bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup cream to a boil.
  3. Pour heated cream over the chocolate mixture.
  4. Let stand for 1 minute, and then stir until melted and smooth.
  5. Beat the remaining 1 cup chilled cream until soft peaks form.
  6. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.

Chocolate Glaze
  • 9 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 Tbs corn syrup
  1. Combine chocolate and butter in a medium bowl.
  2. Bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often.
  3. Pour the heated mixture over the chocolate.
  4. Let it stand for 1 minute, and then stir until melted and smooth.
  5. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Praline Chocolate Crunch
  • Cocoa Sponge Cake
  • Nut Ganache
  • Praline Mousse
  • Chocolate Glaze
  • Praline Chocolate Crunch
  • 1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts
  1. Spread the nut ganache over the cake and chill in freezer until set, about 15 minutes.
  2. Spread the praline mousse over ganache and chill in freezer until set, about 15 minutes.
  3. Cut the cake crosswise into thirds, and stack the layers on top of each other.
  4. Trim the edges, and then spread the chocolate glaze over the top and sides of the cake.
  5. Freeze until set, about 1 hour.
  6. Place in refrigerator and chill overnight.
  7. Let cake stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
  8. Break up praline chocolate crunch into large shards and arrange on top of the cake.
  9. Garnish with hazelnuts.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

#96 - Spaghetti with Peas, Pancetta, and Spring Onions

We made the tuna and white bean bruschetta as an appetizer, but the main course tonight was this pasta dish from Chef Obi Wan, Jonathan Waxman.

Spaghetti with Peas, Pancetta, and Spring Onions

From Italian My Way This is a pasta with a cream sauce, with peas, spring onions, and - you guessed it - pancetta. Jonathan Waxman had a recipe for homemade pasta, but when we tried it, the dough never came out right, so we went with Plan B, and used some Barilla spaghetti. If you're not making your own pasta, this is a pretty simple recipe. You cook the pancetta in some unsalted butter, then you add the cream and greens, and you top it with some Gruyere cheese, and you're done. This was a really good alternative to your standard Alfredo sauce. When we want a simple pasta, we usually whip up an Alfredo and add whatever we have laying around - ham, peas, rotisserie chicken, whatever.

But this shows what you get if you plan out ahead of time. The pancetta goes really well with the peas and green onions, and the Gruyere cheese adds a different dimension than what we're used to.

Simple and delicious. That's what Chef Kenobi does. Make this, and you'll be pleased.
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup pancetta, diced
  • 2 cups spring peas
  • 3 spring onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the pancetta and cook for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the peas, spring onions, and cream and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
  5. At the same time, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
  6. Drain the pasta
  7. Toss the cooked spaghetti with the sauce and Gruyere cheese and serve.

#95 - Sicilian Tuna and White Bean Bruschetta

When Borders went out of business, we not only got the Jonathan Waxman book, but we also bought this cookbook from frequent Iron Chef judge Donatella Arpaia.

Sicilian Tuna and White Bean Bruschetta

From Donatella Cooks This recipe has two ingredients we know go well together from our Ligabue salad - tuna fish and cannellini beans. This is a bruschetta, so you have to get some nice crusty bread, slice it and toast it or grill it up. After making a little mustard and red onion vinaigrette, you mix that with the cannellini beans and puree some of that to make the whole topping extra smooth. This was a really nice little appetizer. There was a lot of topping, so we kinda felt like it was something else (maybe an open faced Italian tuna salad sandwich?) rather than bruschetta, but it was tasty.

The vinaigrette added nice flavor, and the onions added a solid crunch to the semi-pureed topping. All in all, this was a great appetizer / side dish / whatever you want to call it. You should have the ingredients in your pantry from your Ligabue stock. So make this instead one time.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus extra for brushing
  • 1 1/2 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, soaked for 30 minutes in ice-cold water
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 250-gram jar imported olive oil-packed Italian tuna, drained
  • 20 fresh mint leaves, cut in thin strips
  • 4-6 slices rustic Italian bread
  1. Whisk together 1/4 cup of the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and garlic in a small bowl.
  2. Add half of the onions, toss, and let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine the beans and onion vinaigrette in a large bowl.
  5. Puree one-third of the mixture in a food processor until smooth.
  6. Fold this mixture back into the beans, add the tuna and the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, and all but 1 Tbs of the mint.
  7. Mix until the tuna is no longer chunky.
  8. Brush the bread slices with olive oil, toast, and cut in half, if desired.
  9. Arrange the bread slices on a platter.
  10. Spoon some of the tuna-bean mixture onto each slice.
  11. Garnish with the remaining onions and mint and serve.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

#94 - Pecan Caramel Bars

When Emily's grandmother passed away earlier this year, one thing that was left to her was a box filled with Grandma Jean's recipes. Since we're not big fans of Michigan's Upper Peninsula's cuisine, what we were most excited about was the desserts. Grandma Jean made lots of delicious cookies and bars, and when we found this one, we thought we'd give it a shot.

Pecan Caramel Bars

From Jean Beck These are pecan caramel bars, so you're going to need to have pecans and caramel candies. And we didn't know what Oleo was, so we used margarine instead. You start out making the dough, which is the base of the bars. Then you melt the caramels, and mix with pretty much all the other ingredients, and pour over the partially baked crust. Grandma Jean didn't let us down. These were really tasty and even though it seemed like they would be too sweet (with all the caramel candies and brown sugar), they actually tasted really good with some vanilla ice cream. Yum! Here's all it takes:
  • 2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 28 Kraft caramels
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Cream 2/3 cup margarine and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the flour and mix well.
  4. Press the dough into the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking pan.
  5. Bake the dough for 15 minutes.
  6. In a small saucepan, heat the caramels, water, and 1/4 cup margarine over low heat.
  7. Melt, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  8. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt.
  9. Gradually add the caramel sauce and mix well.
  10. Stir in the pecans.
  11. Pour the mixture over the baked crust.
  12. Bake for 15 minutes.
  13. Cool completely and cut into rectangular bars to serve.