Tuesday, January 31, 2012
These are the ultimate make-ahead dessert. Bake some cookies, stick a little ice cream between them, and leave them in the freezer until you want to eat them. You can get extra credit for making your own ice cream, but in a pinch, I just buy my favorite flavors from the local ice cream shop. My favorite part are the toppings, and I went a little crazy.
Pistachio is one of my "litmus test" flavors when it comes to ice cream and gelato. If they get that right (not too sweet, not too almond-y, and just a touch savory), I'm sold for life. Especially with bittersweet dark chocolate? MWAH! Heaven! And with all of the dark, rich flavors in the cookies, which aren't too sweet because they're meant to be paired with ice cream, pistachio was a must try. Also, cayenne pepper and chocolate is one of my favorite combinations that I go back to again and again. Sprinkle a little around the edge and you have a surprising kick on an icy treat. Enjoy!
Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches
Dark Chocolate Cookies
For 24 cookies (12 sandwiches)
8 oz butter, room temp
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup grated or finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
For Ice cream sandwiches
1 quart of your favorite flavor (I chose vanilla and chocolate
Toppings (I did vanilla + sprinkles, vanilla + grated chocolate, chocolate + salted pistachios, chocolate + cayenne pepper)
Preheat oven to 350F. With a mixer, blend together the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the mixer on low speed. Add the vanilla and chocolate and blend until the dough becomes a rich, dark brown. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness and using a cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Place on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and top with sugar crystals is you like. Bake for 15 minutes and cool completely on a rack.
You can make the ice cream sandwiches ahead and refreeze them, or make them to order. Just pick your favorite flavor, scoop out about a 1/2 cup, and press onto the cookie (softened ice cream works best). Top it with another cookie, and roll the sides in your favorite topping (nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, whatever!). Enjoy!
Monday, January 23, 2012
If you follow me on twitter, you know NIGHT+MARKET, a pop up resto on the Sunset strip that specializes in authentic regional Thai street food and general awesomeness, is one of my favorite places to eat. And no, it's not just because they play Kanye and project episodes of The Wire or the Godfather on the wall (well, maybe a little bit?), it's because Kris is a badass in the kitchen. After the rush of glowing praise from LA food god Jonathan Gold, Kris's next big moment is LA's biggest food week: DineLA. Despite his hectic schedule and new it-boy status, he took the time to invite me into his kitchen and get a sneak peek at his DineLA menu: Chili Relish with Pork Rinds and Head on Prawns with Chili Jam. So delicious and easy to prepare, I'm definitely adding these to the menu the next time I rev up the grill. Enjoy!
Thursday, January 19, 2012
My love of this delicious bivalve is pretty well documented, and I couldn't help but return to it. I've been digging through cookbooks from the 30s and 40s, and let me just say, the oyster was a VERY popular bite then. And way not? It was cheap and wonderful to eat every which way. Fried, stewed, baked, grilled, raw, FRIED. I linger on the fried because that's what I tried today: Fried Oysters. Plump, juicy, just crisp and golden brown. YUM yum yum yum yum yummmmmmm.
But enough about fried for a moment. As lovely as they are, raw is really my favorite. That first burst of flavor and shot of icy cold ocean is as exhilarating as it is delicious. With a little lime, cilantro, and serrano chili? Well, it's practically a feast.
Both of these recipes take practically no time to make, and if you're not into the idea of oysters, you can try the fried recipe with shrimp. Enjoy!
Pan Fried Oysters with Salsa Verde
1 dozen oysters, shucked (reserve the bottom shells for presentation)
1 cub french bread, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 egg yolks, lightly whisked
2 cups olive oil
For Salsa Verde
1 poblano chili
4 garlic cloves
A handful of cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor, pulse together the bread, salt, pepper, and cayenne until fine breadcrumbs. Dredge the oysters in the yolk and coat in the bread crumbs. Heat the olive oil over medium heat until just simmering (test it by sprinkling some crumbs into it. It should sizzle and come to the top.) and toss the coated oysters in. Let them fry until golden brown, flip, and fry some more. They should cook for about 1 minute total. Set aside on a paper towel.
Meanwhile, peel and broil the tomatillos for about 5-10 minutes, or until charred and juicy. Char the poblano over an open flame, then scrape off the skin and deseed it. Chop it roughly and pop it, the tomatillos, the garlic, cilantro, and hot sauce in a food processor. Pulse it and taste for season.
Put the each oyster into a shell. Drizzle the oysters with salsa verde and garnish with cilantro.
Oysters with Lime, Serrano, and Cilantro
1 dozen oysters, shucked and on the half-shell
2 limes, juiced
1 serrano chili (or jalapeno), thinly sliced
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Combine the lime juice, chili, cilantro, and olive oil with a little salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over the oysters and enjoy!
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Henry and I have officially started a tradition. Well, we've done it twice, so that counts, right?
It's called Pizza Night, and though I make pizza for the fam at least a couple of times a year (or at least whenever Henry badgers me about it), its big moment is on Christmas day.
After presents and breakfast Henry and I make the dough, and while the family is out to the movies, it rises. Everyone picks out their toppings and we stand around the kitchen eating our piping hot pizza. This time around (for the inaugural Christmas Day pizza, click here) I took the leftovers from my Christmas Eve pasta and some inspiration from my favorite Italian Classics. The results were delicious:
1. Cherry Tomato Margherita with Lemon Zest and Truffle Salt
2. Broccoli Rabe with Hot Sausage
3. Pasta Pizza (Roasted Butternut Squash, Sunchokes, and Fennel with Walnut Pesto, finished with Brown Butter and Crispy Sage)
4. Roasted Radicchio with Balsamic vinegar and Chevre
NOTE: All of the pizzas use the same dough recipe.
For 4 10-12 inch pizzas
3 cups high gluten flour (I use King Arthur's Bread Flour), though All Purpose is fine too.
1 teaspoon yeast (half a pack)
1 3/4 cups warm water (about 70-80 degrees, not too hot or you'll kill the yeast)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
In a the bowl of your electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil. Stir gently to combine. Attach the dough hook to your mixer and on the second highest speed (8 on a Kitchen Aid) knead the dough for 15 minutes, or until it has formed a ball on the hook and has completely pulled away from the sides of the bowl. The best test to see if it's elastic enough is to pull off a tablespoon of dough and stretch it into a square. You should be able to pull it thin enough to see light through it without it tearing. It is tears knead it for another minute. When it's ready, knead on the highest level for an extra two or three minutes. Lightly oil a container with olive oil, add the dough, and cover with a lid (or plastic wrap if using a bowl). Mark or mentally note where the dough is, and note where it should be for it to triple in size. Set aside in a warm spot (on top of the fridge is great) and let it ferment for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until tripled in size.
An hour before making the pizzas set your pizza stone in the center of the oven and crank it up as high it can go for at least an hour.
When the dough is ready, scoop it onto a floured counter (it'll puddle out) and cut into four equal pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 10 minutes. When ready, pick up a piece of dough and stretch at the edges, moving the dough through your hands in a circle. It doesn't have to be perfect, just get it as thin as you can and put it on a flour baking peel or rimless cookie sheet. Add your toppings and bake for 7-8 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!
Cherry Tomato Margherita with Lemon Zest and Truffle Salt
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tsp lemon zest
2 balls bufala mozzarella, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
4 pinches truffle salt, or a few drops truffle oil, or you can buy cheese with truffle in it.
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons basil, chiffonade (thinly sliced into ribbons)
On one stretched pizza dough on the floured pizza peel (or a floured baking sheet if you don't have one)smooth 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce onto the pizza, covering the whole thing, save a 1/2 inch around the edge. Top with a quarter of the cheese (there should be a lot of space around each slice) and dot with the halved tomatoes. Sprinkle with lemon zest and truffle salt and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 8 minutes and top with a little basil. Slice and enjoy!
Broccoli Rabe with Hot Sausage
1 lb broccoli rabe (rapini)or a head of broccoli if you can't find it
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chili flake
1 pinch lemon zest
8 oz taleggio grated (or mozzarella)
4-5 fresh hot Italian sausages
Grated Parm, optional
Break the broccoli rabe into 1 inch chunks. In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the broccoli rabe for 1 minute and the stick in an ice bath. Blanching the rabe makes it sweeter and turns is a gorgeous bright green. You can skip the step if you prefer a more bitter flavor, just saute it for a little longer.
Strain the broccoli rabe and dry completely on a towel. In a saucepan, heat up a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and chili flake and cook until the garlic just starts to toast (careful that it doesn't brown). Add the broccoli rabe and saute for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, push the sausage out of its casings and in a pan over medium heat with a little bit of olive oil, saute it until the bits are completely brown and cooked through.
On one stretched pizza dough on the floured pizza peel (or a floured baking sheet if you don't have one)smooth 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce onto the pizza, covering the whole thing, save a 1/2 inch around the edge. Top with a quarter of the cheese and sprinkle a quarter of the sausage and broccoli rabe. Top with some parm and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 8 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
Pasta Pizza (Roasted Butternut Squash, Sunchokes, and Fennel with Walnut Pesto, finished with Brown Butter and Crispy Sage)
For how to prepare the vegetables and walnut pesto, check out this recipe.
8 oz roasted butternut squash
8 oz roasted sunchokes
4 oz roasted fennel
1/2 cup walnut pesto
8 oz grated mozzarella
Grated Parm, optional
4 tblsp unsalted butter
12 sage leaves
On one stretched pizza dough on the floured pizza peel (or a floured baking sheet if you don't have one)smooth 2 tablespoons of walnut pesto onto the pizza, covering the whole thing, save a 1/2 inch around the edge. Top with a quarter of the cheese and sprinkle a quarter of the roasted vegetables. Top with some parm and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 8 minutes. In the meantime, melt the butter over medium heat, add the sage leaves, and continue cooking until it turns golden brown and starts turning nutty. Drizzle a quarter of the brown butter and sage leaves over the pizza. Slice and Enjoy!
Roasted Radicchio with Balsamic vinegar and Chevre
1 head radicchio, or small red cabbage, quatered
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, plus more for drizzling
8 oz fresh chevre (fresh goat cheese)
1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 425 F. In a small oven-safe pan, drizzle each quarter of radicchio with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, or until the leaves start to wilt. Turn up the oven to broil and broil until the edges start to brown. Take the radicchio out, slice into 1 inch sections, and immediately cover with balsamic, turning to dress.
On one stretched pizza dough on the floured pizza peel (or a floured baking sheet if you don't have one) smooth 2 tablespoons of sour cream onto the pizza, covering the whole thing, save a 1/2 inch around the edge. Top with a quarter of the cheese and sprinkle a quarter of the radicchio. Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 8 minutes and finish with a drizzle of balsamic and some ground pepper. Slice and enjoy!