Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Iced Chai

  • 2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) water
  • 1 cup chopped fresh ginger root
  • 1/4 cup cardamom pods
  • 10 black tea bags (regular or decaf)
  • 2/3 cups pure maple syrup or packed brown sugar (optional)
  • 3 cups milk, or milk alternative

In a large pot, bring water to boil. Add ginger root and cardamom pods. Lower heat to a simmer, and cover pot. Cook for 10 minutes. Add tea bags, and turn off flame. Cover pot. After 15 minutes, pour in milk and maple syrup (or brown sugar) and stir. Bring to a simmer again, uncovered, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Pour through a sieve (or remove bags, ginger and pods some other way) into pitcher, or other cold beverage storage. Serve over ice. Keeps well, stored in refrigerator, for about a week.

Makes 3 quarts

from Apartment Therapy: The Kitchen

Basic Granola Formula

Start with about 8 cups dry to 1 cup wet for a mildly sweet, crunchy granola, but feel free to adjust the proportions to your taste from there.

Dry (choose a few or all):

  • Rolled oats (5 to 6 parts)
  • Scottish or steel-cut oats
  • Wheat germ
  • Flax seed
  • Almonds, walnuts, pecans
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Shredded coconut (unsweetened)


  • Canola, vegetable, or olive oil (1 part)*
  • Honey or maple syrup (3 parts)

Also add (per one cup wet):

  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt

*Don't be scared to use olive oil; even extra virgin imparts little flavor on the final product

Preheat oven to 250° F.

Combine dry ingredients and pour onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Combine wet and pour over dry, then gently mix. Bake for about 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.

After baking, add 1-2 parts dried fruit such as raisins, blueberries, or cranberries.

from Apartment Therapy: The Kitchen

Friday, June 22, 2007

Louisana Chicken and Sweet Potato Hash

  • 1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (2 to 3 medium), scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (without tenderloins)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (1-1/2 to 2 cups)
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded, cored and finely chopped (1-1/4 cups)
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 scallions, white and tender green parts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 cup nonfat half-and-half

Place the cubed sweet potatoes in a large pan with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender.

While the potatoes are cooking, poach the chicken: Cut the breasts in half vertically, place them in a large skillet and add just enough water (or low-sodium chicken broth) to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through and tender. Drain, transfer to a work surface and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside. Drain the potatoes and set aside.

Clean out the skillet and place the butter in it to melt over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the vegetables have softened. Add the paprika and the dried thyme, crumbling it between your fingers, then the salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine for 1 minute.

Add the chicken, sweet potatoes, scallions, parsley and half-and-half. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the liquid has reduced and the hash is thickened and “tight.”

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

From James Villas, The Glory of Southern Cooking

Nutrients per serving (1/4 recipe): 381 calories, 31g protein, 45g carbohydrates, 8g fat, 84mg cholesterol, 5g saturated fat, 331mg sodium, 6g dietary fiber

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Arugula Pesto

  • 2 bunches of arugula, coarse stems discarded and the leaves washed well and spun dry (about 6 packed cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Sardo
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • l large clove garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

In a food processor combine the arugula, the walnuts, the Parmesan or Sardo, the salt, and the garlic and pulse the motor until the walnuts are chopped fine. With the motor running add the oil in a stream and blend the pesto with hot cooked pasta, potatoes, or vegetables.

The pesto keeps, chilled, its surface covered with plastic wrap, for 2 weeks. Makes about 2 cups.

from Gourmet, July 1993 via Epicurious

Penne with Sugar Snap Peas and Arugula Pesto

  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1 pound penne rigate (ridged, quill-shaped macaroni) or other tubular pasta
  • 3/4 to 1 cup arugula pesto

In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the sugar snap peas for 45 seconds, or until they are crisp-tender, transfer them with a skimmer to a large serving bowl, and toss them with 1/2 cup of the pesto. In the boiling water cook the pasta until it is al dente, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta-cooking water, and drain the pasta in a colander. In the bowl with the sugar snap peas toss the pasta with the reserved pasta-cooking water, 1/4 cup of the remaining pesto, or to taste, and salt and pepper to taste.

Gourmet, July 1993 via Epicurious

Serves 4 to 6

Fennel-Crusted Ahi Tuna over Couscous

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 carrot, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas
  • 2 cups couscous
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 1/2 pounds ahi tuna steaks (about 1 1/4 inches thick)

Combine first 3 ingredients in heavy small skillet. Toast over medium heat until fragrant, shaking skillet occasionally, about 3 minutes. Grind spice mixture in spice grinder. Transfer to bowl; mix in 1 teaspoon salt.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrot and onion and sauté until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add thyme and garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add 2 1/4 cups water and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to boil. Add sugar snap peas and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, transfer peas to plate. Immediately add couscous to water in skillet and stir to combine. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with fork. Transfer to bowl and cool completely. Mix in sugar snap peas and dill. Season to taste with pepper. (Couscous can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Prepare barbecue (high heat). Coat tuna with 6 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with spice mixture. Grill tuna until seared outside and rare in center, about 4 minutes per side. Refrigerate uncovered for 1 hour, then cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Spoon couscous onto plates. Top with tuna.

Makes 6 servings.

modified from Bon Appétit, August 2005, via Epicurious

Sugar Snap Peas with Cumin and Thyme

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole brown mustard seeds or yellow mustard seeds
  • 3/4 lb fresh sugar snap peas, strings removed
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Add the oil to a large skillet or wok and place over medium heat.

2. When the oil is hot, add in the cumin seeds and mustard seeds.

3. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop (should be a matter of seconds), turn off the heat.

4. When the oil is cooled to medium temperature, place the pan back on medium heat and add in the peas.

5. Stir-fry briskly for a few seconds.

6. Add in the salt, thyme, and 3 tablespoons of water.

7. Bring to a simmer; cover quickly and turn the heat down to low; cook for about 3 minutes or until the peas are almost done.

8. Uncover and add in the cayenne, black pepper, and lemon juice.

9. Turn the heat to high and quickly boil away all the liquid in the pan while stirring gently to mix the seasonings.

10. Serve right away.

Yeild: 4 servings

from Madhur Jaffrey, World Vegetarian, page 260. Rebecca Blood recommends.

Nutrition information calculated for 1 serving (98g): Calories 93; Total Fat 7.2g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 437mg; Potassium 138mg; Total Carbohydrate 7.4g; Dietary Fiber 2.9g; Sugars 1.4g; Protein 1.8g

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Stri-Fried Shrimp, Snow Pea, and Walnut Salad

  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Oriental sesame oil
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 12 medium shrimp (about 1/2 pound), shelled
  • 1 garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 pound snow peas, trimmed
  • 1 large Belgian endive
  • 3 cups watercress sprigs, coarse stems discarded

In a small bowl stir together the water, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, the soy sauce, the sesame oil, the sugar, and a pinch of salt.

In a bowl toss the shrimp with the garlic paste and 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and let the shrimp marinate for 10 minutes.

In a non-stick skillet heat 2 teaspoons of the remaining olive oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it sauté the walnuts, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the snow peas, sauté the mixture, stirring, for 45 seconds, or until the snow peas are crisp-tender, and transfer it to a bowl. In the skillet sauté the shrimp for 1 minute on each side, add the soy sauce mixture, and simmer the shrimp, covered, for 1 minute, or until they are cooked through. Add the shrimp mixture to the snow pea mixture.

In a large bowl toss the endive, sliced thin crosswise, and the watercress with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the remaining 1 teaspoon vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste, divide the greens between 2 dinner plates, and top them with the shrimp mixture.

Gourmet, May 1992

Serves 2

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sweet Potato Jacks with Apple Topping


  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 medium baking apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped


  • 6 cups grated sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites

1. For the syrup: In a large nonstick skillet, stir together the brown sugar, orange juice, and cinnamon. Add the apples and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, for 10 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the brown sugar has melted to form a syrup. If the apples begin to dry out, add water, one tablespoon at a time, to keep them moist. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and keep warm. Wash and dry the skillet.

2. For the pancakes: In a large bowl, mix the sweet potatoes, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, honey, egg, and egg whites.

3. Preheat the oven to 200F. Coat the skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium heat for 3 minutes, until hot but not smoking. For each pancake, drop about 2 tablespoons of batter into the skillet. Flatten slightly with a spatula until about 3 inches across. Cook the pancakes until golen brown on both sides. Repeat with the remaining batter, coating the skillet with cooking spray as needed.

Old-fashioned Rhubarb Trifle

Old-fashioned because when I was a child – a very long time ago – I used to love jelly trifles, and my mother would always make one for my birthday. This is a much more adult version, and the sharp, fragrant acidity of the rhubarb makes it a very light and refreshing dessert for spring and early summer.

  • 1 lb 8 oz (700 g) fresh rhubarb
  • 4 oz (110 g) golden caster sugar
  • grated zest and juice 1 orange
  • 2 oz (50 g) pecans
  • 6 trifle sponges
  • 3 level tablespoons marmalade
  • 4 fl oz (120 ml) Sercial (dry) Madeira
  • about 10 fl oz (275 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 x 11 g sachet gelatine powder
  • 12 oz (350 g) fresh custard
  • 7 oz (200 g) Greek yoghurt
  • a little pouring cream (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).

You will also need an ovenproof baking dish measuring 7½ inches (19 cm) square and 2 inches (5 cm) deep, and 6 individual serving bowls or 1 large trifle bowl with a capacity of 3½ pints (2 litres).

To prepare the rhubarb, cut it into 1 inch (2.5 cm) chunks and add these to the baking dish. Then sprinkle in the caster sugar, together with the zest and juice of the orange. Now pop the whole lot in the oven without covering and let it cook for 30-40 minutes, until the rhubarb is tender but still retains its shape. At the same time, place the pecans in the oven and put a timer on for 7 minutes to toast them lightly, then you can either leave them whole or chop them roughly.

While the rhubarb is cooking, slice the trifle sponges in half lengthways, spread each half with the marmalade, then reform them and cut each one into 3 little sandwiches. Now arrange them either in the individual serving bowls or the large trifle bowl. Then make a few stabs in the sponges and sprinkle the Madeira carefully over them, then leave it all aside so it can soak in.

When the rhubarb is cooked and has become completely cold, taste it – if it is a bit sharp, add a little more sugar. Take a draining spoon and carefully remove the chunks of rhubarb, placing them amongst the sponges. Now pour all the juices from the dish into a measuring jug and make this up to 18 fl oz (510 ml) with the orange juice.

Next, pour 8 fl oz (225 ml) of this into a small saucepan, scatter the gelatine over, whisk it and leave it to soak for 5 minutes. Then place the pan over a gentle heat and whisk everything until all the gelatine has completely dissolved – about 2 minutes – then return this to the remaining juice in the jug and give it all another good whisk. Now pour it over the sponges and rhubarb. When it is completely cold, cover it with clingfilm and leave in the fridge till completely set. The last thing you need to do is whisk the custard and Greek yoghurt together in a mixing bowl, then spoon this mixture over the set jelly.

Now cover with clingfilm again and chill until you're ready to serve. Don't forget to sprinkle the toasted pecan nuts over just before serving, and, although it doesn't strictly need it, a little chilled pouring cream is a nice addition.

Serves 6.

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book Two and Delia's Vegetarian Collection. via DeliaOnline

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

  • 2 1/4 cups sifted, unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground dried ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, then cooled to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light unsulphured molasses
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • Orange Sauce for Gingerbread (optional)

1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and cocoa in medium bowl.

3. Beat butter, molasses, sugar, buttermilk, milk, and egg in large bowl of an electric mixer on low speed.

4. Add dry ingredients to liquid; beat on medium speed until batter is smooth and thick, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Do not overmix. (If using the fresh ginger, batter will be lumpy.)

5. Working quickly, pour batter into nonstick 11-by-7-by-1 1/2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and smooth surface. (If you do not have a nonstick baking pan, then use no-stick cooking spray or solid vegetable shortening to grease pan sides and bottom, then dust with flour.)

6. Bake until top springs back when lightly touched, and edges have pulled away from the pan sides, about 35 to 45 minutes.

7. Set pan on wire cake rack and let cool 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. (Gingerbread can be wrapped in plastic wrap, then foil, and refrigerated up to 5 days.)

  • For stronger ginger flavor, replace the dried ginger with three tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger root and three tablespoons minced crystallized ginger.

    Yield: 8 servings

    from Cooks Illustrated

  • Ham Jambalaya

    • 3/4 cup brown rice
    • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 large onions, diced
    • 1 red bell pepper, diced
    • 1 green bell pepper, diced
    • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 28-ounce can ready-cut tomatoes
    • 2 cups diced ham
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Cook brown rice in chicken broth.

    Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, bell peppers and garlic; saute until beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Mix in tomatoes with their juices, ham, wine, thyme, basil, paprika and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil. Cover pot. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer about 15 minutes. Add rice and simmer, covered, 10 minutes more.

    Season with salt and pepper.

    optional additions: chicken, sausage, shrimp

    6 servings

    from Epicurious

    Pasta with Caramelized Onions, Cabbage, and Smoked Ham

    • 4 bacon slices
    • vegetable oil
    • 2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds or fennel seeds
    • 4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (about 1/4 small head)
    • 1 1/2 cups diced smoked ham (such as Black Forest; about 8 ounces)
    • 3/4 pound fusilli or rotini pasta
    • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 cup (about) canned beef broth

    Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until bacon is brown and crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towel and drain. Crumble bacon. Measure drippings from skillet; add enough vegetable oil to measure 1/4 cup and return mixture to skillet. Add onions and caraway seeds and sauté until onions are dark brown, about 25 minutes. Add cabbage and ham and sauté until cabbage wilts, about 8 minutes.

    Meanwhile, cook pasta in heavy large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Return pasta to same pot.

    Add bacon, onion mixture, and cheese to pasta. Toss over medium heat until warmed through, adding broth by 1/4 cupfuls to moisten if dry, about 4 minutes. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

    Yeild: 4 servings


    Spicy Peanut Noodles with Chicken

    • 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
    • 2 medium cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
    • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon chile garlic sauce
    • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar lightly packed
    • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
    • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into tenders
    • 1 tablespoon table salt
    • 1/2 pound dried Asian noodle
    • 2 carrots, julienned
    • snow peas or sugar snaps
    • 1 small red bell pepper, julienned

    1. Bring 6 quarts water to boil in stockpot over high heat.

    2. Meanwhile, heat oil in saute pan or wok. Stir-fry chicken breasts until lightly browned, 4 to 8 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Using 2 forks, shred chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.

    3. Mix peanut butter, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, hot sauce, and sugar until smooth.

    4. Steam vegetables.

    5. Using same water, prepare noodles following package directions.

    6. Mix vegetables and chicken with sauce in saute pan until heated through. Reduce sauce a bit if necessary. Add noodles and toss thoroughly to combine.

    4-6 servings

    adapted from Cooks Illustrated

    Peppered Nectarine Salad

    • 4-6 reasonably firm nectarines
    • 1 large or 2 small red onions
    • 2 bell peppers
    • 2 reasonably firm tomatoes
    • 1 lime
    • balsamic vinegar
    • oil (I prefer hazelnut oil for this)
    • salt
    • black pepper
    • white pepper
    • ground hot red pepper (optional)
    • a good big pinch of dried basil

    Wash everything, of course. Cut the nectarines into thin slices. Chop the onions finely. Cut the peppers into thin strips, no more than a couple of inches long. Cut the tomatoes into little cubes.

    Pepper heavily with black pepper, more restrainedly with white pepper, and infinitesimally with the hot red pepper. If some of your peppers are mildly hot in their own right, you can skip the ground red pepper entirely.

    Cut the lime in halves or quarters and squeeze it over the salad. Salt well. Add balsamic vinegar to taste‚ probably around 2-4 teaspoons. Add oil to taste. Sprinkle on the basil. Mix well.

    This gets better after a few hours, not that it isn't good to start.

    By the way: nectarine slices and paper-thin slices of red onion are great on cold sliced pork sandwiches.

    from Making Light

    Wednesday, June 13, 2007

    Oven-Baked Salmon With Herbs

    • 1 salmon fillet - about a pound
    • 2-4 T fresh herbs, chopped (thyme or dill is nice, but anything you like is probably good)
    • 1/2 t pepper
    • 1/2 t salt (a bit more if kosher, or if fish is skinned)
    • 1 teaspoon oil, if that - you just need a very thin film

    Drape the filet over something convex like a bowl to pick out any bones- they stick right out when you position this fish this way.

    1. Heat the oven to 200 F. (not a typo)

    2. Chop up the herb, and mix it with the salt and pepper. I happen to have lemon thyme in my garden, and it is my favorite for fish, but regular thyme or any herb you like works fine - even parsley. If you want to use more, that's fine, and sometimes I mix in a a tablespoon or so of sesame seeds.

    2. Smear the oil on an oven-proof serving platter, and put the fish on top. If the filet is skinned, put some salt and pepper on both sides, otherwise just put the fish skin side down and season the top. I usually run my oily hand from the platter-smearing over the fish so the seasoning will stick a bit better.

    3. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until salmon flakes.

    Nutritional Information: Figuring three servings per pound, each has zero carbs, 30 grams of protein, and 230 calories.

    from About.com

    Saturday, June 9, 2007

    Carrot-Orange Soup

    • 4 tbsp (60 ml) sweet butter
    • 2 cups (475 ml) finely chopped yellow onions
    • 12 large carrots, about 2 lbs (.9 kg)., peeled and chopped
    • 4 cups (950 ml) chicken stock
    • 1 cup (225 ml) fresh orange juice
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • grated fresh orange zest to taste

    Melt the butter in a pot.

    Add onions, cover, and cook over low heat until tender and lightly colored, about 25 minutes.

    Add carrots and stock and bring to a boil.

    Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes.

    Pour the soup through a strainer and transfer the solids to the bowl of a food processor.

    Add 1 cup (225 ml) of the cooking stock and process until smooth.

    Return the puree to the pot and add the orange juice and additional stock, 2 to 3 cups (700 ml), until the soup is the desired consistency.

    Season to taste with salt and pepper; add orange zest.

    Simmer until heated through. Serve immediately.

    Serves 4

    from the Silver Palate Cookbook

    Rhubarb Ice Cream

    • 1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, about 3 1/2 cups
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3 large egg yolks
    • 2/3 cup whole milk
    • 1 cup heavy cream

    In a saucepan, combine rhubarb and 3/4 cup sugar. Cover and cook over low heat until rhubarb releases its juices, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until most of water evaporates and rhubarb has a soft jam like consistency, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

    Whisk egg yolks lightly. In a saucepan, combine milk and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to a boil. Gradually whisk milk mixture into yolks. Return to saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Using a fine-meshed sieve, strain into a bowl.

    Add rhubarb mixture and cream. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight.

    Freeze in an ice-cream maker to manufacturer's instructions.

    Serves 8

    Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Taste

    Friday, June 8, 2007

    Arugula Salad with Avocado, Grapefruit & Feta

    • arugula
    • avocado
    • grapefruit
    • red onions
    • pistachios
    • feta cheese
    • olive oil
    • balsamic vinegar

    from Albion Cooks

    Chili-Rubbed Salmon with Zucchini and Sauteed Corn

    You can use any salsa you like: mild, medium, or hot. For the best flavor, buy the fresh variety sold in the refrigerator section of grocery stores.

    • 4 skinless salmon fillets, (6 ounces each)
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 2 teaspoons chili powder
    • 1 pound medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 3-inch spears (about 1/2 inch thick)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 (10 ounces each) frozen corn kernels, (4 cups)
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 cup chopped scallions
    • 1 container (16 ounces) prepared fresh tomato salsa, (2 cups)
    • Lime wedges, for garnish (optional)

    1. Heat broiler; set rack 4 inches from heat. Rub salmon all over with salt and pepper. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle top of fillets with 1 teaspoon chili powder. Arrange zucchini around salmon; sprinkle with remaining teaspoon chili powder, and season with salt and pepper.

    2. Broil until fish is opaque throughout and zucchini is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

    3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add corn and garlic; cook, tossing, until corn is tender and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in scallions and salsa; season generously with salt and pepper. To serve, place fillets on plates, and serve with zucchini and half the corn. Reserve other half of the corn for next day. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.

    Serves 4

    from Everyday Food

    Arugula Salad With Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Mushrooms

    • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
    • 3/4 pounds medium cremini or white button mushrooms, stems trimmed, caps halved (or quartered, if large)
    • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 2 to 3 (about 12 ounces) arugula, stems trimmed
    • 2 1/2 cups leftover Chili-Rubbed Salmon with Zucchini and Sauteed Corn*
    • Baked Tortilla Strips, or store-bought tortilla chips, crumbled, for serving (optional)
    • Goat cheese, crumbled (optional)

    *If you don't have leftover sauteed corn, dress the salad with a simple vinaigrette.

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On 2 large, rimmed baking sheets, toss together sweet potatoes, mushrooms, cumin, and oil; season generously with salt and pepper. Roast, rotating sheets halfway through, until vegetables are tender, browned, and dry, about 40 minutes. Reserve 4 cups sweet potatoes and mushrooms for next day.

    2. In a large bowl, combine arugula with the sauteed corn and 6 cups of the roasted sweet potatoes and mushrooms; toss until arugula wilts slightly. Serve immediately, topped with tortilla strips and crumbled goat cheese, if desired.

    Serves 4

    from Everyday Food

    Arugula Salad and Ultimate Vinaigrette

    • 1 shallot, finely minced
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 6 cups arugula

    Combine the shallot, mustard, vinegar, oil, sugar, honey and salt and pepper in a jar and shake to emulsify.

    Toss arugula with vinaigrette, to taste.

    Yield: 4 servings

    Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence, via Food Network

    Baby Arugula Salad with Nectarines and Toasted Hazelnuts

    This salad can change with the seasons; try persimmons in the fall, pears or blood oranges in the winter, and nectarines when they are in season. You can substitute mixed baby greens for the arugula and frisée.

    • 1/2 cup shelled and unsalted hazelnuts
    • 1 head frisée
    • 4 white nectarines (preferably with cling-free stones)
    • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 6 ounces baby arugula

    1. Heat oven to 400°F.

    2. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and place in oven. Toast until they are golden brown, about 7 minutes. Remove hazelnuts from the oven and set aside to cool.

    3. Cut off the base of the frisée and discard; chop the rest into bite-sized pieces.

    4. Cut nectarines into sixths and set aside. Wrap cooled hazelnuts in a towel and rub them vigorously to remove most of the skins. Chop the nuts coarsely.

    5. Combine both vinegars in a medium mixing bowl, add salt and pepper to taste, and add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking it to mix. Place the arugula, frisée, nectarines, and toasted hazelnuts in a serving bowl.

    6. To serve, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

    Makes: 6 to 8 servings

    from CHOW

    Cannellini Bean, Red Onion, and Arugula Salad

    • 1 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans
    • 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced (about 3 tablespoons)
    • 1 bunch arugula, thick stems removed, washed and dried
    • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 T. cup balsamic vinegar
    • Handful washed basil leaves, roughly chopped
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 5 grinds black pepper

    Empty the cans of beans into a colander and rinse them briefly under cold water. Drain thoroughly and empty the colander into a large serving bowl. Toss the beans together with the red onion and arugula.

    Shake the olive oil, vinegar, chopped basil, salt and pepper in a sealable container until the salt is dissolved. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. It's best to make and dress the salad about an hour before you serve it. Let it stand at room temperature, tossing every time you think about it. Just before serving, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Yield: 2 to 3 servings

    adapted from Food Network: Good Deal with Dave Lieberman

    Keralan Fish Curry

    This tamarind-tangy curry makes for a perfect dinner on a hot night; light enough not to knock you out, but spiced enough to prompt a heat-drowsy appetite. And it is such gloriously easy food to make. In summer, particularly, that counts. You can easily use any fish, chopped into meaty chunks for the curry itself; or just replace the fish with juicy, peeled uncooked prawns.

    • 2 and three quarter pounds firm white fish
    • salt
    • 2 teaspoons turmeric
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 2 medium onions, halved and cut into fine half-moons
    • 2 long red chillies
    • 1 3/4-inch piece fresh ginger
    • pinch ground cumin
    • 1 x 14 oz tin coconut milk (about one and three quarter cups)
    • 1-2 tablespoons concentrated tamarind paste
    • 1 tablespoon liquid fish broth concentrate (or half a fish stock cube)

    Cut the fish into bite-sized chunks, put them into a large bowl, and rub with a little salt and 1 teaspoon turmeric. Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan and peel and tip in your fine half-moons of onion; sprinkle them with a little salt to stop them browning and then cook, stirring, until they've softened; this should take scarcely 5 minutes.

    Cut the whole, unseeded chillies into thin slices across (although if you really don't want this at all hot, you can deseed and then just chop them) and then toss them into the pan of softened onions. Peel the ginger and slice it, then cut the slices into straw-like strips and add them, too, along with the remaining teaspoon of turmeric and the cumin. Fry them with the onions for a few minutes.

    Pour the coconut milk into a measuring jug and add a tablespoon of tamarind paste and the fish stock, using boiling water from the kettle to bring the liquid up to the 6-cup mark. Pour it into the pan, stirring it in to make the delicate curry sauce. Taste and add more tamarind paste if you want to. And actually you can do all this hours in advance if it helps.

    When you are absolutely ready to eat, add the fish to the hot sauce and heat for a couple of minutes until it's cooked through, but still tender.

    Serves 4-6.

    from Nigella Lawson (Forever Summer)

    Chocolate Gingerbread

    This is very rich, very strong: not for children, but perfect for the rest of us.


    • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
    • 3/4 cup golden syrup or light corn syrup
    • 3/4 cup black treacle or molasses
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
    • 2 tablespoons warm water
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup milk
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
    • 6 oz package or 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


    • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
    • 1/4 cup ginger ale

    Preheat the oven to 325F and tear off a big piece of parchment paper to line the bottom and sides of a roasting pan of approximately 12 x 8 x 2 inches deep.

    In a decent-sized saucepan, melt the butter along with the sugars, golden syrup, treacle or molasses, cloves, cinnamon and ground ginger. In a cup dissolve the baking soda in the water. Take the saucepan off the heat and beat in the eggs, milk and soda in its water. Stir in the flour and cocoa and beat with a wooden spoon to mix. Fold in the chocolate chips, pour into the lined pan and bake for about 45 minutes until risen and firm. It will be slightly damp underneath the set top and that's the way you want it.

    Remove to a wire rack and let cool in the pan. Once cool, get on with the frosting.

    Sift the confectioners' sugar. In a heavy-based saucepan heat the butter, cocoa and ginger ale. Once the butter's melted, whisk in the confectioners' sugar. Lift the chocolate gingerbread out of the pan and unwrap the paper. Pour over the frosting just to cover the top and cut into fat slabs when set.

    Makes about 12 slabs.

    See the stockists page for suppliers of golden syrup, liquid amber in glorious culinary form that once you've tried, you're hooked on.

    from Nigella Lawson

    Thursday, June 7, 2007

    Cheddar Cheese Sauce

    • 1 tbsp. butter
    • 1 tbsp. flour
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 c. milk
    • 1/2 c. (2 oz.) shredded cheese

    Melt butter. Blend in flour and salt. Add milk. Cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Add cheese. Stir until melted. Makes 2/3 cups. Terrific for vegetables, noodles, or rice!

    Lemon Pudding Cakes



    SERVES: 6

    The Good News: These pillowy, vitamin C-packed cakelets are adapted from The Greyston Bakery Cookbook. "When you overwhelm dry ingredients with wet ones, an amazing texture separation happens," Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan says. "These cakes are rich without being too heavy."

    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3 large eggs, separated
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 cup skim milk
    • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • Fresh raspberries or blackberries, for serving

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray six 6-ounce ramekins with vegetable oil spray. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar with the flour. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the butter until well blended. Whisk in the milk, lemon juice and lemon zest. Pour the lemon mixture into the sugar mixture and whisk until smooth.

    2. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until firm peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins and transfer them to a small roasting pan. Place the pan in the oven and pour in enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

    3. Bake the pudding cakes for 35 minutes or until they are puffy and golden on top. Using tongs, transfer the ramekins to a rack to cool for 20 minutes. Serve the cakes in the ramekins or run a knife around the edge of each cake and unmold onto plates. Serve warm or at room temperature with the berries.

    MAKE AHEAD: The lemon pudding cakes can be refrigerated for 2 days.

    One Serving 170 cal, 6 gm fat, 2.9 gm sat fat, 27 gm carb, 0.2 gm fiber.

    from Food & Wine

    Yam and Black Bean Burritos

    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
    • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika - or add 1 teaspoon chipotle - if you prefer it hot!
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 large red yam, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    • 1 can black beans
    • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
    • 1/2 sour cream
    • Wheat tortillas or wraps
    • Salsa fresca
    • Sour cream

    Toss the yam cubes with the smoked paprika, some salt and pepper and a little extra vegetable oil. Heat the vegetable oil over high heat and add the cumin, shaking to keep them from burning. Cook for just a few moments or until toasted and fragrant. Turn the heat to medium and add the yam. Cook, stirring, until the edges are golden and the insides are tender - about 8-10 minutes. Turn out into a bowl and set aside.

    Add the beans and their juice to the skillet and heat until warmed through. Stir in the cilantro and sour cream and heat just until warm.

    Pile the yams, beans, and some salsa fresca together on a burrito, roll up and eat!

    Serves 2

    From Apartment Therapy: The Kitchen

    Rhubarb Compote with Ginger and Orange Zest

    • 1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed and chopped
    • 1/2 - 1 cup boiling water
    • 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon grated ginger
    • Zest from 1/2 - 1 orange, to taste
    • 1/4 cup sugar

    Add boiling water to pot with rhubarb. Once it’s cooked a bit, for about 5 minutes, add ginger, zest and sugar. Cook for another approximately 10 minutes.

    Good on ice cream, pancakes, or oatmeal.

    From Apartment Therapy: The Kitchen

    Smashed Lentils with Egg

    • 2 cups of lentils
    • Olive oil
    • 4 shallots, or 1/4 red onion
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • 2 teaspoons garam masala
    • 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 4-6 eggs

    Rinse and drain the lentils. Mince the shallots and garlic and chop the cilantro. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring, for about five minutes, then add the garam masala and lentils. Stir so the lentils are coated with the oil and garlic, then add the cilantro and cook until wilted.

    Add 4 cups of water and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes. If they are too watery at the end, leave the lid off for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and mash with a fork.

    Heat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease individual baking ramekins. Mound the lentils in each then make a hollow and crack in an egg. Cover with foil and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until yolk is just set.

    Serve with lime pickle or another spicy chutney.

    The cooked lentils keep well, so you can make a batch ahead of time and put this meal on the table about 20 minutes after you walk in the door.

    Makes 4-6 servings

    from Apartment Therapy: The Kitchen

    Vanilla Pastry Cream

    • 2 cups whole milk or cream
    • 3 egg yolks
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 3 tablespoons flour
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 tablespoon butter

    Heat the milk to boiling. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and flour together. Whisk in a little warm milk, then a little more, gradually. Whisk well then pour into the boiled milk. Turn the heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened - about 3 or 4 minutes. Whisk in the butter and vanilla. Transfer to to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the cream. Refrigerate.

    Yield: 2 cups

    from Apartment Therapy: The Kitchen

    Phyllo Napoleons with Blackberry Sauce and Vanilla Cream

    • 12 ounces frozen or fresh blackberries
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • Zest of 1 lemon
    • 2 tablespoons Kirsch
    • 1 recipe Pastry Cream
    • 5 sheets phyllo dough
    • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
    • 1/4 cup sugar

    Combine the blackberries, sugar, Kirsch and lemon zest and leave in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Puree half the blackberries in a food processor and mix with the whole berries.

    Heat the oven to 400ºF and prepare a large baking sheet with parchment. Melt the butter and whisk with the cardamom. Brush a sheet of phyllo dough with the butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Repeat until all sheets are used. Cut the sheets into 12 equal squares. Bake for about 7 minutes or until browned and crispy. Let cool.

    To assemble the dessert, spoon pastry cream on a square and drizzle blackberry sauce over top. Put another square on top and layer with pastry cream and sauce. Top with a third square and finish with whole blackberries and cream.

    4 servings

    from Apartment Therapy: The Kitchen

    Whole-Wheat Rigatoni with Butternut Squash and Beet Greens

    • 1 16 oz. package whole-wheat rigatoni or penne or some pasta
    • 2 T. unsalted butter
    • 1 onion, cut into slivers
    • 1 1/2 to 2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
    • 5 or 6 shitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced 1/4-inch thick
    • handful of white button mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick†
    • 1/4 c. dry sherry
    • 3 c. chicken stock
    • 3 oz. beet greens, from one bunch of beets (or Swiss chard), tough stems removed, cut into 1/2-inch strips
    • 1 t. coarse salt
    • 1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
    • 2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

    Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain; set aside, covered in plastic wrap.

    Heat butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add squash and cook until slightly softened, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until tender, about five minutes. Add sherry and cook until liquid evaporates. Add stock and cook until vegetables are tender and stock is reduced by half, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in greens and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add pasta, salt, and pepper, and toss to combine. Serve with topped cheese, or don't. It tastes delicious without it.

    Serves 4-6

    † The original recipe called for all shitakes, totalling 8 oz. worth. At my local market, that was nearly $8.00 of mushrooms alone, so I opted for a five to give a nice flavor to my dish, then substituted regular old mushrooms. The total amount of mushrooms you use should be about 8 oz, break it down however you wish.

    I really liked this recipe, it was easy to make and it was tasty and autumnal and filling. It was great reheated the next day for lunch as well.

    Recipe stolen from Martha Stewart Living, November 2001. Adapted and reprinted without permission.

    from Megnut

    Apple Crisp with Oatmeal Crumb Topping


    • 5 to 6 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices (if you use sweet apples instead, squeeze in approx. 1/2 t. of lemon juice to cut down the sweetness)
    • 2 T. granulated sugar
    • 2 T. lightly packed brown sugar
    • 1 1/2 t. cinnamon
    • 1/4 t. nutmeg
    • 2 T. unsalted butter, melted


    • 3/4 cup plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup plus 2 T. old-fashioned oatmeal
    • 1/4 cup plus 3 T. granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup plus 3 T. lightly packed brown sugar
    • 12 T. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and slightly softened

    Preheat oven to 375° F.

    In a large bowl, toss apple slices with both sugars and the spices. Let sit for 20 minutes, or until the apples release some juice and the sugar is moist.

    Meanwhile, combine flour, oatmeal, and both sugars for the topping in a bowl and mix well with your fingertips, crumbling any lumps. Add the butter and work the mixture gently until it resembles coarse crumbs. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

    Transfer the apples, with their juices, to a 1 1/2 quart casserole. Pour the melted butter over the apples. Sprinkle the topping evenly over them.

    Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Serve warm.

    Serves 4 to 6

    This recipe comes from the An American Place cookbook by Larry Forgione.

    from Megnut


    • 4 (1-ounce) slices Italian bread
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
    • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
    • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt

    Trim crusts from bread slices, discard crusts. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Let bread sit for 3-4 hours so that it can dry out and not be too soggy when mixed with the salad. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat bread lightly with olive oil. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until toasted.

    Combine basil and next 4 ingredients (basil through beans) in a large bowl. Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Pour over tomato mixture; toss to coat. Add bread, toss well. Serve immediately.

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 cups)

    This classic bread salad, full of juicy tomatoes, is summer on a plate. It's best when the toasted bread is still crisp, so serve immediately after tossing.

    from Megnut

    Grilled Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes

    • Grilled salmon fillet*
    • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes**
    • 1 scallion, thinly sliced, white and light green parts
    • 1 egg
    • fresh lemon juice
    • capers and caper juice
    • breadcrumbs
    • salt and pepper

    * I usually have about 1 1/2 cups or so, it's not the whole fillet but just a few inches left after dinner.

    ** You can of course use a regular potato

    1. Flake salmon by breaking apart with your fingers.

    2. Boil sweet potato until soft and mushable, but not falling apart. Rinse with cold water.

    3. When potato is cool, add to salmon and mix together until incorporated.

    4. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, approx. a teaspoon of caper juice, and a teaspoon of capers, salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

    5. Add one egg and mix everything together.

    6. Form mixture into cakes, it will be a little loose so handle carefully.

    7. Heat skillet with some butter.

    8. When pan is hot, coat both sides of cakes with breadcrumbs and place in pan. Cook until browned and firm.

    Serve with a side of mayonnaise mixed with a little lemon juice, capers, and caper juice.

    from Megnut

    Shortcakes for Strawberries and Other Fruit

    • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream
    • 2 mashed hard-cooked large egg yolks
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

    Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly butter a baking sheet.

    Sift the flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the baking powder into a bowl. Add the butter pieces. Using your fingertips, work the butter quickly and lightly into the flour until the mixture is the consistency of very fine crumbs or sand. Add the cream and egg yolks and stir with a fork until the dough just holds together.

    Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead briefly, just until it forms a smooth dough. Do not overwork. Pat or roll out the dough to a thickness of 3/4 inch. Using a floured 2 1/2- or 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out 4 rounds of dough. Gather up dough scraps, reroll, and cut out 2 more rounds.

    Put the rounds on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown and firm to the touch.

    Transfer the biscuits to a rack and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before splitting and serving with berries and fresh whipped cream.

    This recipe comes from the An American Place cookbook by Larry Forgione. It is my favorite recipe for biscuits to have with strawberry (or any berry or fruit) shortcake. The biscuits are best day of but are ok the next day too. Day three, not so much. I suppose you could try freezing them, but leaving them out, they just turned too mushy.

    from Megnut

    Wednesday, June 6, 2007

    Orange and Almond Oatmeal Cookies

    • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened but still firm
    • 1 cup light brown sugar
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • 3 cups rolled oats
    • 2 tablespoons minced orange zest
    • 1 cup toasted chopped almonds

    1. Adjust oven racks to low and middle positions; heat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl of electric mixer or by hand, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time.

    2. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg together, then stir them into butter-sugar mixture with wooden spoon or large rubber spatula. Remove orange zest with peeler, being careful to leave behind any white pith. Toast almonds in 350-degree oven for 5 minutes and chop. Stir in oats, almonds, and orange zest.

    3. Form dough into sixteen to twenty 2-inch balls, placing each dough round onto one of two parchment paper-covered, large cookie sheets. Bake until cookie edges turn golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes. (Halfway during baking, turn cookie sheets from front to back and also switch them from top to bottom.) Slide cookies on parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

    If you prefer a less sweet cookie, you can reduce the white sugar by one-quarter cup, but you will lose some crispness. Do not overbake these cookies. The edges should be brown but the rest of the cookie should still be very light in color. Parchment makes for easy cookie removal and cleanup, but it's not a necessity. If you don't use parchment, let the cookies cool directly on the baking sheet for two minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

    Makes 16 to 20 large cookies.

    Blue Cheese Walnut Butter

    Delicious on grilled beef steaks and lamb chops, or as a topping for baked potatoes.

    • 6 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • 3/4 teaspoon dried, crushed rosemary
    • 1/4 cup (about 1 ounce) toasted walnuts
    • salt, if needed

    Combine cheese, butter, parsley, and rosemary in a medium nonreactive bowl. Stir to blend well. Mix in walnuts. Taste and add salt, if needed (the blue cheese is quite salty). Can be prepared 2 days in ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring butter to room temperature before using.

    Makes 2 cups

    from The Big Book of Backyard Cooking

    Sirloin Steaks with Blue Cheese Walnut Butter

    • 6 large cloves garlic, peeled
    • 1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons papper
    • 3 1-pound boneless sirloin steaks, 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
    • vegetable oil for oiling grill rack
    • Blue Cheese Walnut Butter

    Combine garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender and process several seconds until mixture resembles a thick paste. Pat steaks dry and rub each side with some of the garlic paste. Place steaks on a platter and let stand at cool room temperature for 30 minutes.

    When ready to grill steaks, oil a grill rack and arrange 4 to 5 inches from heat source. Prepare grill for a hot fire. Grill steaks 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare (internal temp 145F). Remove and let stand for 3 minute.

    Halve each steak and top each portion with some of the Blue Cheese Walnut Butter.

    Serves 6

    from The Big Book of Backyard Cooking

    Red and Yellow Pepper Relish

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 large yellow onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
    • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
    • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
    • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped
    • salt
    • pepper

    Combine butter and oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion and cook, stirring, until softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Add bell peppers and saute, stirring, until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add olives, mustard, and garlic and stir 1 minutes. Remove from heat, taste, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer relish to a bowl and cool. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving. (Relish can be prepared 2 days ahead.)

    Makes 2 cups

    from The Big Book of Backyard Cooking

    Garlic-Scented Sirloins with Red and Yellow Pepper Relish

    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled
    • 4 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
    • 4 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
    • 3 1-pound boneless sirloin steaks, 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
    • salt
    • pepper
    • Red and Yellow Pepper Relish

    Combine 1/3 cup of olive oil, garlic, thyme, and rosemary in a food processor or blender and process, pulsing several times, until garlic and herbs are finely minced. Brush this mixture on both sides of each steak. Salt and pepper steaks and let stand at cool room temperature 15 to 20 minutes.

    Oil a grill rack and arrange 4 to 5 inches from heat source. Prepare grill for hot fire (high temperature). Grill steaks 4 to 6 minutes per side until rosy-pink inside for medium rare. (Internal temp should be 145F). Halve each steak and top with relish.

    Serves 6

    from The Big Book of Backyard Cooking