31 October 2010

Have a...


28 October 2010

Baked Explorations

Baked is one of my favorite cookbooks and I wrote about it back in April of 2009. Well, the Baked boys are back with a new cookbook. Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito have another winner with Baked Explorations.

Baked Explorations features traditional American baked goods with exciting twists. Check out this interview at Eater for more incites into the Baked experience. To get a look at the actual bakery check out their Baked web site.

And now, without further ado...Wait! Let me just say here that the recipe is long and seems complicated. But here is the truth. The recipe has two components -- sweet and salty. Then the two components have to be assembled. So you really do not want a recipe that leaves out valuable sets do you? My advice is to read the recipe -- read it again -- and when you fully grasp the steps, you will see it is not nearly as complicated as you might think from looking at it.

So now, really, without further ado... a recipe.

Sweet & Salty Brownie

1 c. sugar
2 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp fleur de sel
1/4 cup sour cream

1 and 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 & 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla

1 and 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel
1 teaspoon coarse sugar

Make the Caramel:

In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 cup water, stirring together carefully so you don't splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat, until a thermometer reads 350 degrees and is dark amber in color.

Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream (it will bubble up). Then add the fleur de sel. Whisk in the sour cream. Set aside to cool.

Make the Brownie:

Preheat oven to 350. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13" pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water. Whisk in both sugars until completely combined. Removed bowl from pan.

Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until incorporated. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey. Add the flour mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until there is just a trace of the flour mixture remaining.


Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Drizzle and 3/4 cup of the caramel sauce (not all of it) over the batter, trying to stay away from the edges. Gently spread the caramel sauce evenly. In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the remaining batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently over the caramel.

Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with the fleur de sel and the coarse sugar. Completely cool before serving.

What else? Oh yeah, Matt went to the University of Alabama so no wonder he knows how to bake. I know that many of you are quite distraught that Alabama has a "buy" this Saturday. I know I am at a loss for what to do. Well, here's and idea -- BAKE!!!

20 October 2010

In Season

At Lucindaville, we featured Adam Nicholson's book on Sissinghurst. Sissinghurst was the home of his grandmother, Vita Sackville-West. In an attempt to improve revenue for the National Trust, Nicholson and his wife, Sarah Raven, proposed reviving the working farm. Sarah Raven is a gardening expert as well as the author of many cookbooks, including In Season.

Sarah Raven's book are always large, exuberant books, loaded with recipes and lovely photos. In Season follows that most fashionable trend in cookbooks, pointing out that food is better in season. While this idea seems self-evident, it is just so 2010. that being said, Raven is a great cook. She makes cooking seem effortless and fun.

Sarah Raven with daughter Rosie

Recently, I ordered some heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo. I got some cranberry beans just to make this dish.

Cranberry Beans with Sage

1 pound fresh cranberry beans (or, if using dried beans, use 1 cup soaked overnight in cold water)
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 or 4 sage leaves, chopped, plus plenty extra for garnishing
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
3 ounces pancetta, chopped
Dash of red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
3 handfuls of arugula or young spinach leaves (optional)

Put the beans, garlic, and chopped sage into a pan, bring them to a boil, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the beans are soft. Drain them and, while still warm, add 1 tablespoon of oil and put aside.

Meanwhile, fry the pancetta in a very little olive oil until crisp and add to the beans. Mix together the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, and slowly add the rest of the olive oil to give a very creamy dressing. Pour this over the still-warm beans, retaining a third of it if you are using the salad leaves. Garnish with plenty of chopped sage leaves over the top.

If using the salad leaves, dress the leaves, divide among the plates, and spoon the beans over the leaves. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Raven teaches cooking and has a garden shop at Perch Hill Farm or visit her online at Sarah Raven's Kitchen and Garden.

13 October 2010

Lilla's Feast

Lilla's Feast is more of a memoir than a straight cookbook. The book is a biography of Frances Osborne's great grandmother, Lilla Eckford. The catalyst for the book can be found in the Imperial War Museum in London. The museum holds a cookbook that was written in a Japanese internment camp in China during World War II. Lilla Eckford, or Lily Casey as she was known then, lived in Cellblock 20, Room 3. She subsisted on rotting vegetables and occasionally some donkey meat. In that cell she wrote a cookbook on whatever scraps of paper she cold find. Not recipes for the food or lack of it that she was experiencing, but a book that would remind her of the safety and plenty of home. There are recipes for cream puffs, blancmange, beef, jugged hare and mulligatawny soup. It is her best effort to keep humanity in a situation that was unconscionable.

Here is a recipe from her time in China.

Shrimp Pork

shelled shrimp
mixed vegetables

To serve say five people: 3/4 lb vermicelli (boiled until soft), 3 large onions, 1/2 lb pork cut into dice when fried in margarine until tender. Chop the onions and fry until golden brown, shell the shrimps about 4 ozs, prepare the vegetables then cut into small pieces. If garlic is liked, chop a very small piece. Boil the vegetables.

When all is ready, add onions, drained vermicelli, pinch of salt, chopped pork, vegetables (about 2 1/2 lb), shelled shrimps. Put into a saucepan and heat until very hot.

Sometimes and omelet is made and placed on to, also dry rice is served in a small bowl, with drops of soya sauce over.

Lilla proves to be an anachronism, a Westerner in the East of China and Japan and in later life, more of an Easterner in England. For years she fought to be compensated for losses she suffered in China. For nearly sixty years she waged a letter writing campaign, until she received a small check when she was nearing 101.

While Frances Osborne may be a bit sentimental about Lilla, it is still nice to see that in our most desperate times it is often the food of our childhood that unites us.

Frances Osborne's other great-grandmother was the notorious Idina Sackville, who we posted about at Lucindaville.

12 October 2010

Kenya Cookery Book

In the 1920's many a second or third born son, who became the "spare" rather than the "heir", headed out to the wilds of Africa. At the time it must have seemed like a fine idea. Their wives found themselves at a bit of a disadvantage. In order to make the transition from London to Nairobi more palatable, the St. Andrew's Church Woman's Guild, Nairobi compiled the Kenya Settlers' Cookery Book and Household Guide in 1928.

In addition to recipes, there was a dictionary of words in Swahili, info on how to iron woollens and lace, how to clean a white felt hat and how to keep paraffin lamps from smoking. All things I am sure the ladies of the Woman's Guild felt their sisters from London would need.

For the women who landed at Happy Valley, advice on addiction and how not to get caught sleeping with someone who was NOT your husband might have been a bit more useful.

As time marched on, the St. Andrew's Church Woman's Guild, Nairobi was undaunted by the more seemly arrivals from England and they have continued to offer updates to their guide, including how to cook with those newfangled electric cookers.

Still, if you find yourself stuck in Africa with nary a haggis in site, the St. Andrew's Church Woman's Guild, Nairobi have a recipe for you.

Mock Haggis

250 g. liver
125g. suet
1 large breakfast cup oatmeal
1 medium-sized onion
pepper and salt

Cover the liver with water and boil for 20 minutes, having first removed the scraggy bits. When cold, mince it. Brown the oatmeal in a little butter, then add finely chopped suet and onion, minced liver and seasoning. Mix all the ingredients with some of the water the liver was boiled in, but do not make too soft. Grease basin, pour in the mixture and steam 3 hours.

Actually, I find the mock haggis might just trump the actual haggis. And how, you might ask, does one address a haggis? Like Robert Burns...

Address To A Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
"Bethankit!" 'hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

To read more about the wild women of Happy Valley, check out Lucindaville.

08 October 2010

Canteen Cuisine

In 1992, Michael Caine enlisted celebrity chef Marco Pierre White to open a restaurant with him near his home in Chelsea Harbor, London. Marco jumped at the chance. It was not Caine's first foray into the restaurant business and he was well connected... oh yeah, and he had big bucks. The restaurant lasted about a year, decidedly longer than most of Marco Pierre White's marriages.

Around the time The Canteen was opened, White's career was taking off and Caine's was waning. I am happy to report they are both doing quite well.

After the restaurant closed Caine went on to win a Golden Globe and a second Oscar and he was knighted.

White would become, at 33, the youngest chef to win three Michelin stars (a title he lost to 28 year-old Massimiliano Alajmo). He also mentored (read: yelled at and belittled) numerous culinary stars including: Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal, Bryn Williams, and Mario Batali to name perhaps the most famous.

Even though the restaurant didn't survive, the cookbook did. Canteen Cuisine came out several years after the restaurant closed, but it is filled with many fine recipes, including this lovey pud, as they say in England.

Chocolate Tart

500 g (18 oz) Valharona Equatorial chocolate, broken into pieces
3 eggs
200ml (7 fl oz) milk
350ml (12 fl oz) double cream
1 X 20 cm (8 in) Sweet Pastry Case

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/ Gas 4.

2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a bain-maire; this should not be too warm.

3. Whisk the eggs together in a large bowl.

4. Bring the milk and cream to the boil in a pan, then pour on to the eggs, and whisk together.

5. Pass through a sieve on to the chocolate and mix well. Pour this into the blind-baked tart case.

6. Put the tart into the oven, and immediately turn off the oven off. Leave the tart in the oven 40-45 minutes.

7. When cool, trim the edges of the pastry, and cut the tart into 10 portions. Serve with chocolate shavings on the top, and sprinkled with icing sugar.

The chocolate is a dark 70%, so pick one of your own choosing. I trust you can use your own pâte sucrée recipe for the pastry case. So now you are good to go.

07 October 2010

Doves (not a cookbook per se)

Over at the blog To The Manner Born, I read a wonderful entry about dove hunting, which is a great way to spend an autumnal day in Alabama. When I commented on the post, I got a nice note from the author, David Bagwell. I also got a picture of the day's spoils and his wife's recipe for said spoils. (And now I would like to say how truly upset I was to have not been invited to share in the bounty... but I digress.)

Here is David's note on the recipe.

Here are my dove breasts, stuffed with basil goat cheese my wife made from organic goats, organic jalapeño and wrapped in bacon and grilled!

Seriously, he hunts doves and she makes goat cheese, these are people to party with, I must say.

04 October 2010

Slow Cookers Go Wild!

As you know, we are fond of game cookbooks and as the weather gets cooler (Who am I kidding, it is downright cold, today!) it is time to think about wonderfully, lovingly braised meats. While some culinary types look down their noses at the lowly crock-pot, many a classically trained chef will tell you there is no better way to braise meat. Still not convinced? Read Mark Bittman's wonderful article in the New York Time.

For game, which can often need a long cooking time, a slow cooker is a godsend. Enter outdoors woman Teresa Marrone. She has put together a book covering both the slow cooker and game. Slow Cookers Go Wild! is a great place to start. Unlike many game cookbooks, this book offers up delightful recipes that can easily converted to wonderful recipes for a cheaper cut of beef or pork, since I know most of readers are not facing an abundance of bear roast or moose... unless maybe Sarah Palin is a reader. ( No she's way too busy to be making slow-cooker moose.)

The sides are a lot of fun. There is a running joke on Top Chef about never making potatoes gratin, because of course they never get done. I love making a scalloped potato with an alternative ingredient. I love scalloped potatoes with pears or turnips. I like making scalloped sweet potatoes. Marrone makes a two-colored potato of white and sweet potatoes and cooks them for hours in the slow-cooker. I had never thought of scalloped potatoes in a slow cooker, but I am definitely giving it a try.

Here's a great venison roast recipe. It requires grabbing ingredients form the bar, but we won't tell.

Venison Roast Braised With Grenadine

2-pound boneless venison rump roast
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup grenadine syrup

Rinse roast and pat dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat until simmering. Ass roast and brown well on all sides: if the oil starts smoking, reduce heat slightly. While roast is browning, cut onion in in half from top to bottom, then cut each half across the equator, Cut each quarter into 1/4 inch wide wedges from top to bottom (rather than in half rings). Add onion wedges to dutch oven with roast, and stir them around occasionally while roast is browning. In measuring cup , combine broth and grenadine.

When roast is nicely browned, transfer to the slow cooker along with the onions. Add broth mixture to Dutch oven, stirring to loosen any browned bits. cook over medium heat for about a minute, then pour over roast in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until roast is very tender, 7 to 8 hours. To serve, transfer roast to cutting board and let stand for a few minutes, then cut or break the roast apart into chunks. Place venison in serving bowl; pour juices and onions from the slow cooker over the top.

Try this with a nice side of quinoa and you are good to go.
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