Saturday, November 26, 2011

#91 - Parsnip and Apple Soup

As he did with the Sorrel Soup back in September, Farmer Randy helped us out with a new recipe by giving us this parsnip and apple soup recipe and providing practically all the ingredients.

Parsnip and Apple Soup

From Star Hollow Farm This soup has parsnips and apples (as the name suggests), and the cumin-corriander-spice combo we've used three other times. You start out by chopping your apples, parsnips, and onion, and then you plop them in a pot with some melted butter. Then you add the spice mix and stir it all together. Then you add some chicken stock and let it simmer for about half an hour. Eventually you puree the whole thing and add some cream.

So this is a weird one. As you're cooking it, you're smelling that spice mix, and you're adding chicken stock. But when you eat it, it is not as savory as you might expect. The apples really cut through it, and it's very balanced and tasty. Again, as you're cooking it, you don't think that coriander and cumin and curry powder would go well with apples, but that was the best part.

So, different, but delicious. And we probably prefer this one to the sorrel soup, which if you remember we liked quite a bit. So there. If you find yourself in the possession of parsnips, try this:
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 lb parsnips, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Chives, chopped
  1. In a large soup pot, heat the butter over medium heat.
  2. When butter is foaming, add the parsnips, apples, and onions.
  3. Soften them, but do not let them color.
  4. Add the curry powder, cumin, coriander, coriander, and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring well.
  5. Pour in the chicken stock slowly, stirring until well mixed.
  6. Cover and simmer gently for about half an hour, or until the parsnips are quite soft.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Using a blender, liquidize the soup.
  9. Add the cream and reheat, without boiling.
  10. Serve garnished with the chopped chives.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

#90 - Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

So for Thanksgiving, we didn't just make the Caramel Apple Cheesecake. We also made the other half batch of those pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (we had frozen half of the cookie dough). Oh, and these Oreo cupcakes from Bakerella.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

From Bakerella So this dessert is an Oreo-and-chocolate cupcake, with Oreo-infused icing, and topped with some sort of Oreo topping. So besides your usual chocolate cupcake ingredients, you're gonna need - you guessed it - Oreos. So to get the chocolate cupcakes infused with Oreos, you crumble one and put it in the cupcake liner. When you pour in the batter, the chunks will float up and fill the whole cupcake. See? Then when you're making the icing, you sprinkle Oreo crumbs in it to get little black speckles in the white frosting. Oh my gosh, these were good too! We completely rocked Thanksgiving dessert! The cupcakes were very chocolatey, but it didn't go overboard. They may have been a little bit sweet, but if there's one day to splurge, it's Thanksgiving. Any other day, you probably don't need the Oreo on top. Here's what you need to do to turn your standard chocolate cupcakes into something that'll turn heads.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 24 Oreos, plus more for crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line cupcake tray with 12 paper liners.
  3. Break apart 12 cookies and place the broken pieces in each cupcake cup.
  4. Mix the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl using a wire whisk.
  5. Add the eggs, oil, vanilla, and milk and mix well until completely combined.
  6. Add the hot water and mix until combined.
  7. Transfer the batter to a large measuring cup.
  8. Pour batter into each baking cup so it's about 3/4 full.
  9. Bake for 16-18 minutes.
  10. Cool completely before frosting.

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3-6 Tbs milk
  • 2 or more tsp Oreo cookie crumbs
  1. Beat the shortening in a mixer until smooth.
  2. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. Add the powdered sugar in three additions, scraping down the sides after each addition.
  4. Add a tablespoon of milk at a time and mix together until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Add the cookie crumbs and mix until completely combined.
  6. Place frosting in a decorator bag with a large tip and swirl on top of each cupcake.
  7. Insert a cookie on top of each cupcake.

#89 - Cousin Johnnie's Caramel Apple Cheesecake

We saw this recipe on Food Network while we were flipping channels after work one day, and now that it's Thanksgiving, it's time to give it a shot.

Cousin Johnnie's Caramel Apple Cheesecake

From Paula's Best Dishes It's a Paula Deen recipe, so you know it's going to be good and that you're going to need some butter, y'all. You start out making the graham cracker crust, by mixing graham crackers, butter, and sugar in the food processor and then baking for 10 minutes. Then you make the filling, pour it in the cooled crust, and bake the whole thing, floating in a water bath. Ours sank a little in the middle, but other than that it already looked really good at this point. Then that needs to sit overnight in the fridge, until it's time to work on the topping - caramel apples and pecans. And if that doesn't look delicious, look at how the cheesecake came out when we took it out of the springform pan. This was awesome! Our last attempt at a cheesecake was not the greatest. The no-sugar-added-nonsense made it a little bland, there wasn't any exciting topping, and a lot of cracks formed in it (maybe due to the lack of a water bath). But this cheesecake was unbelievable. It was rich and tasty but not too sweet (a first for a Paula Deen dessert). The crust was delicious, and the topping was crazy. All in all, a perfect Thanksgiving dessert. Try this at home now, and you can claim you're just practicing for next year's Turkey Day.

  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 9 Tbs butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Wrap the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan tightly with foil.
  3. In a food processor, mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar.
  4. Press the mixture into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the prepared pan.
  5. Bake the crust for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove crust from the oven and let it cool completely.

  • 4 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1 16-oz container sour cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 5 eggs
  1. With an electric mixer, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and cornstarch until smooth.
  2. Add the sour cream, orange juice, and vanilla and blend until smooth making sure there are no clumps.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, blending until just combined.
  4. Pour the filling into the crust.
  5. Put a roasting pan on a rack in the center of the oven and transfer the cheesecake to the pan.
  6. Fill the roasting pan with hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan and cover it loosely with foil.
  7. Bake until the center moves only slightly when the cake pan is shaken, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  8. Check the water level about 1 hour into the baking, adding more water if needed.
  9. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and transfer the cake pan to a wire rack to cool.
  10. Refrigerate overnight.

  • 8 Tbs butter
  • 1 1/2 lbs Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over high heat.
  2. Add the apples and pecans and cook, stirring, until they are coated with butter, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves and the liquid comes to a boil, about 3 minutes.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples and pecans to a bowl.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook the remaining liquid, stirring often, until it turns a deep amber color, about 6 minutes.
  6. Remove the skillet from the heat to stop the cooking and add the cream, being careful not to splatter.
  7. Return the skillet to the heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
  8. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the apples and pecans.
  9. Allow mixture to cool until lukewarm.
  10. Spread the caramel-apple mixture evenly over the top of the cheesecake.
  11. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

#88 - Breakfast Biscuit Sandwich

If you take the best part of breakfast - the eggs, cheese, and meat - and you take the best part of lunch - the sandwich - and you put them together, then you're on to something.

Breakfast Biscuit Sandwich

From Food & Wine This is a ham, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich on a biscuit. If you don't have ham, we suppose bacon will be just as good. Or better. So you start out with the biscuits, making the biscuit dough, rolling it out, and baking for half an hour. Once those are ready, you cut them open and heat them with a little butter while you're frying up an egg. These sandwiches were definitely tasty. They were kinda hard to assemble because you want to make it right when the egg is finished and melting the cheese on the biscuit is a tough feat.

They also were kinda hard to eat. These might have been better as an open face sandwich because the biscuits are a little big, and that's a lot of bread for one egg. But for flavor, the biscuits were really delicious, and if you can get the proportions right, it tasted great with the ham, egg, and cheese. If you want a breakfast sandwich or you just want to learn how to make biscuits, you'll find what you're looking for below:
  • 4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 Tbs salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbs baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and chilled, plus more for spreading
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 10 oz sliced ham
  • 10 oz sliced cheddar cheese
  • 10 fried eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 and position the racks in the upper and lower thirds.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  4. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter until it is the size of small peas.
  5. Add the buttermilk and stir until a shaggy dough forms.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.
  7. Knead until it comes together.
  8. Pat the dough 3/4-inch thick.
  9. Using a 3 1/2-inch round cutter, stamp out as many biscuits as possible.
  10. Reroll the scraps and stamp out more biscuits.
  11. Transfer the biscuits to the baking sheets.
  12. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden and risen, shifting the pans halfway through baking.
  13. Let the biscuits cool.
  14. Split the biscuits and spread with butter.
  15. Preheat a griddle and cook the biscuits, cut side down, until golden.
  16. Fill the biscuits with ham, cheddar, and fried eggs; close and serve.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

#87 - Banana-Pecan Bread

Besides the chorizo strata, we also made this new recipe for Emily's aunts and uncles - banana-pecan bread.

Banana-Pecan Bread

From Sophia Renda This is the third recipe that we've tried from Emily's cousins. The first two - Celina's coffee cake and Tessa's zucchini bread - were big successes, and we expect nothing less from Sophia's banana-pecan bread. How could it not be though? Look at the tasty ingredients.

There are chopped pecans. And ripe bananas. And those two ingredients are delicious no matter how they're prepared. But look at this bread! This thing was delicious. We're big fans of all sweet breakfasty breads, we're big fans of bananas and pecans, and this was the perfect combination of all of the above. Need a new addition for a family brunch? Make this. And invite us over.
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
  1. Grease 2 loaf pans and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 325.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  5. Sift together the salt, flour, and baking soda.
  6. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture.
  7. Stir in the bananas and chopped pecans.
  8. Pour mixture into the two greased loaf pans.
  9. Bake for 1 hour an 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.

#86 - Chorizo Breakfast Strata

Today, we had some of Emily's aunts and uncles over for brunch, and so we had to take the opportunity to cook up some new breakfast recipes. One of which was this chorizo strata.

Chorizo Breakfast Strata

Adapted from Bon Appetit We made a strata once before - remember the bacon, egg, and cheese one from March? Well this one takes the flavor profile of a couple of our other breakfasts - chorizo and eggs. And the steps are pretty much what you'd expect: Cook the chorizo and set on paper towels.Layer the chorizo with bread, cheese, and an egg and milk combo. Top it off with the last of the bread and cheese, and bake. This was an okay strata. It has chorizo and egg and cheese, and it's baked, so it has to be good. But we feel like if we want to have a strata, we'd prefer the other one we mentioned earlier, and if wanted chorizo, we'd prefer the quiche or just chorizo con huevo.

So while this was tasty, we probably won't be making it again anytime soon due to even tastier alternatives. If you feel like giving this a shot, here's how to do it.
  • 1 lb chorizo sausage, casing removed
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 6 1/2-inch slices sourdough bread, crusts trimmed
  • 1 3/4 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  1. Butter an 8-cup baking dish.
  2. Saute the chorizo in a large skillet over medium-low heat until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove chorizo to a plate lined with paper towels and drain well.
  4. Whisk milk, eggs, cumin, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend.
  5. Place 2 bread slices in the bottom of the prepared pan.
  6. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup cheese and half of the chorizo.
  7. Pour 1/3 of the egg mixture on top.
  8. Repeat layering with 2 slices of bread, 3/4 cup cheese, and remaining chorizo.
  9. Pour half of remaining egg mixture over.
  10. Top with 2 bread slices.
  11. Pour remaining egg mixture over and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
  12. Cover and chill overnight.
  13. Preheat oven to 350.
  14. Bake strata uncovered until puffed and golden, about 55 minutes.
  15. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, November 7, 2011

#85 - Pancetta, Cherry Tomato, Burrata, and Scallion Pizza

Apparently Borders went out of business. So when we saw signs outside for like 100% off, we went inside and found some cookbooks for super cheap. One of them was by Jonathan Waxman, the Obi Wan of Top Chef Masters, and we snatched it right up.

Pancetta, Cherry Tomato, Burrata, and Scallion Pizza

From Italian My Way The recipe is a pizza with burrata cheese, an extra creamy mozzarella. If you can't find any at your grocery store, normal mozzarella will work, and it'll only be a little different than intended. Besides the burrata, the other main ingredients are cherry tomatoes and scallions. So chop and mix. Then you roll out the dough (we used some from our favorite New Jersey bakery, but Waxman's got his own recipe for that too), and then add chopped pancetta, the tomato-scallion mix, and the burrata. This was a bizarre pizza. The burrata makes the whole thing soupy - in a good way - and the green scallions, which don't look like the most appetizing pizza toppings, go really well with the pancetta and tomatoes.

So the recipe, despite its eclectic ingredients, is actually really good. Our biggest issue was that we didn't cook it just right, so the bottom of the crust was a little underdone, but that was our fault. If you can find burrata, you might wanna try this. Just make to sure cook it through.
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1/2 lb burrata
  • 1 lb pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup pancetta, diced into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano cheese
  • 2 Tbs olive oil, plus extra for greasing the pan
  1. Preheat the oven to 450.
  2. Slice the tomatoes in half on the equator and place in a bowl.
  3. Mince the scallions, add to the tomatoes, and toss well.
  4. Dice the burrata into small pieces.
  5. Lightly brush the bottom of the pizza pan with olive oil.
  6. Roll out the dough on a working surface using a small amount of flour and your hands.
  7. Transfer the rolled dough to the greased pan.
  8. Sprinkle the dough with the pancetta, then the scallions and tomatoes, and finally the burrata.
  9. Spread the Parmigiano evenly over the pizza and drizzle the oil on top.
  10. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden on the top and bottom.
  11. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.