Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pappardelle with Mushroom Ragu sauce / Assignment #1

This is a recipe from Alice Waters' cookbook The Art of Simple food. I really admire what Ms. Waters has done to revolutionize the way Americans think about food, however, I would not recommend this cookbook to others. I don't like the format she uses to write her recipes and find that some of the recipes I've made from the book are bland and uninspired. You definitely have to know your way around the kitchen to "doctor" some of them up. Having said that I made this meal because it is homework for my cooking class, the Seasonal Table at COS with Debb Campbell.

I made this for our vegetarian Wednesday feast with the usual suspects and asked that they give their honest feedback on the dinner. I served the pappardelle with a homemade European peasant loaf, a simple green salad, some of Ethan's amazing homemade beer, and some cab sav. For dessert I made a pear sherbert. I did my best to not modify the recipes but when I did I make note. Please read the comments to see what everyone thought.

Fresh Pasta page 89

2 C flour (I assumed all purpose since she didn't specify)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

In a bowl add the measured flour. Make a well and pour in the eggs. Mix with a fork, as though scrambling eggs, incorporating the flour bit by bit. When the flour becomes too stiff to mix with fork, finish the mixing by hand. Knead lightly on a floured surface. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Let rest at least an hour before serving.
* I kneaded the dough about 10 min even though she did not mention this. I've played buffet before, sort of speak, and KNOW that pasta has to be kneaded a while to make it pliable enough to pass through the pasta machine.*

Roll out by hand our by using a machine. Go to pappardelle section for further instructions.
*I actually just put the noodles into my dehydrator at 150 degrees for about 3 hours. I like a pasta with some bite and not so gummy.*

Mushroom Ragu sauce page 228

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced fine
1 large carrot, peeled and diced fine
2 celery stalks, diced fine
6 thyme sprigs, leaves picked from the stems
6 parsley sprigs, leaves only, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 c diced tomatoes
2 Lbs mushrooms ( choose a mixture of 2 or 3 types such as chantrelles, black trumpets, hedgehogs, brown or white button)
Olive oil and a little butter
1/2 c cream or creme fraiche
1 c water or chicken broth

In a large, heavy skillet heat the 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add onion, carrot, celery, and salt. Cook over medium heat, until very tender. When cooked through, with no crunch but with little or no browning add the thyme, pasley, and bay leaf. Cook for 1 min. Add tomatoes and cook for 5 min. Set aside.

Carefully clean and slice the mushrooms. If the mushrooms are very dirty, it may be necessary to wash them. Prepare a skillet and cook each mushroom type of mushroom individually. As they cook, the mushrooms will give off liquid; let the juices boil away or tip of the juices and set them aside. Cook mushrooms until they are lightly browned. Turn the mushrooms over onto a cutting board and chop to the size of the cooked veges.

Combine the vege mix and mushrooms in a skillet and add the cream and broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 min. Taste for salt and add as needed. Moisten with more liquid if too thick.

*I used dried mushrooms that I ordered through Oregon mushrooms. http://oregonmushrooms.rtrk.com/?scid=406053&kw=3733917
I reconstituted the chantrelle, black trumpet, and hedgehog mushrooms by adding 1 c of boiling water to 1 oz of dried mushrooms. I weighed the mushrooms to be sure everything was accurate. I kept them separate and put each in the fridge overnight. I saved the soaking liquid and substituted the broth with it, which gave the sauce a really intense mushroom flavor. I also added fresh criminis to make the 2 lbs. I chopped the mushrooms fine before I cooked them, so that saved me a step.*

Pappardelle with Bolognese Sauce pages 266-267

1 recipe Fresh Pasta
2 to 3 oz Parmesan grated (about 1/2 c)
2 c Bolognese Sauce (sub was Mushroom Ragu as recommended in book)
2 to 3 Tbsp butter ( I used unsalted)
1 Tbsp chopped parsley

Cut pasta into 3/4" wide noodles. Toss the noodles with extra flour and lay them out on plate or baking sheet, cover them with a towel, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a small saucepan warm the Mushroom Ragu sauce.

Cook the noodles in the boiling water for 3 or 4 min, until al dente. While the noodles are cooking, melt the butter in a large saute pan. Turn off the heat. Drain the noodles, reserving a small amount of the hot pasta water. Put the noodles into the warm pan with the butter and toss with two thirds of the parmesan and some salt.

Moisten with a bit of pasta water if needed. Divide the noodles among 4 pasta bowls or place on a warm platter. Spoon the sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and the parsley. Serve immediately.

Pear Sherbert page 375

6 to 8 ripe pears (about 3 lbs)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp sugar
1/3 c sugar
1 egg white

Place the lemon juice and 1 Tbsp of sugar in a bowl. Working with one pear at a time peel, quarter and core the pear; place into bowl and toss with lemon and sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining pears.

Add the remaining sugar and egg white to the pears. Puree the mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth. Taste and correct the seasoning with lemon juice or sugar. You should be able to taste both sweet and tart. Freeze right away in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
* I did not add the 1/3 c sugar because one of my guests is sensitive to sugar. Instead I added 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar to egg white to help stabilize it. I blended these two together first before adding the pears, and then I proceeded with the recipe.*

Assignment #1 done. :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Five minutes a day

I love the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day; The discovery that revolutionizes home baking by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois; I've been making delicious bread with this book. Ethan's advice was invaluable too and I truly appreciate his input. From beautiful and delicious bread to pizza, there is nothing you won't love from this book. The pics are of the European peasant dough in bread form and pizza form. Absolutely fabulous.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vegan Indian Dosas

Ethan hipped to the Daring Kitchen and I've wanted to do it for a very long time. The problem is that it's hard for me to navigate their website and to get organized enough to actually log in when I'm supposed to. I still want to become a better cook and baker, so I will make the recipes once they've been archived, while still respecting their posting rules. This way I get to challenge myself without being forced to make things I don't want, and having to revolve my life around their dates.

This was really good and fairly easy to make, although the recipe looks intimidating. We used the left over sauce the very next night, put some sauteed veges in it and had a delicious dinner again.

This recipe comes in 3 parts, the dosas, the filling, and the sauce. It does take awhile to make, but the filling and sauce can be made ahead and frozen if need be. You can serve them as a main course with rice and veggies, or as an appetizer. This does take a little planning ahead, so make sure you read the recipe through before starting.

Serves 4
Equipment needed:
large bowl
griddle or skillet
ladle (or large spoon)
vegetable peeler &/or knife
large saucepan
food processor or bean masher

Dosa Pancakes
1 cup (120gm/8oz) spelt flour (or all-purpose, gluten free flour)
½ tsp (2½ gm) salt
½ tsp (2½ gm) baking powder
½ tsp (2½ gm) curry powder
½ cup (125ml/4oz) almond milk (or soy, or rice, etc.)
¾ cup (175ml/6oz) water
cooking spray, if needed

Dosa Filling
1 batch Curried Garbanzo Filling (see below), heated
Dosa Toppings
1 batch Coconut Curry Sauce (see below), heated
¼ cup (125gm) grated coconut
¼ cucumber, sliced
Dosa Pancakes

1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, slowly adding the almond milk and water, whisking until smooth.
2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, if needed.
3. Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of your pan in a circular motion until it is a thin, round pancake. When bubbles appear on the surface and it no longer looks wet, flip it over and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter. Makes 8 pancakes.

Curried Garbanzo Filling
This filling works great as a rice bowl topping or as a wrap too, so don't be afraid to make a full batch.
5 cloves garlic
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced (red, yellow or orange are fine too)
2 medium hot banana chilies, minced ( I used seeded jalapenos here instead)
2 TBSP (16gm) cumin, ground
1 TBSP (8gm) oregano
1 TBSP (8gm) sea salt (coarse)
1 TBSP (8gm) turmeric
4 cups (850gm/30oz) cooked or canned chick peas (about 2 cans)
½ cup (125gm/4oz) tomato paste

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, veggies, and spices, cooking until soft, stirring occasionally.
2. Mash the chickpeas by hand, or in a food processor. Add the chickpeas and tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through.

Coconut Curry Sauce

This makes a great sauce to just pour over rice as well. This does freeze well, but the texture will be a little different. The flavor is still the same though.
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
½ (2½ gm) tsp cumin, ground
¾ (3¾ gm) tsp sea salt (coarse)
3 TBSP (30gm) curry powder
3 TBSP (30gm) spelt flour (or all-purpose GF flour)
3 cups (750ml/24oz) vegetable broth
2 cups (500ml/24oz) coconut milk
3 large tomatoes, diced

1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes, or until soft.
2. Add the spices, cooking for 1 minutes more. Add the flour and cook for 1 additional minute.
3. Gradually stir in the vegetable broth to prevent lumps. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the coconut milk and tomatoes, stirring occasionally.
4. Let it simmer for half an hour.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tres Leches Cake

Made this for my dad's birthday. We had him over for lunch and birthday cake. I love tres leches cake and this is truly the most ridiculous version. It's out of this world. From Sunset May 2007. Will definitely be making when brothers visit for Thanksgiving.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Blue Cheese Dressing

I wanted to blog this just in case I lost the recipe. It was great on a salad, but I suppose would also be great with buffalo wings. In any case.....

1 Tbsp hot bacon fat (I omitted this for R)
1/2 c sour cream
3 Tbsp whole milk
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 scallion, chopped
2/3 c crumbled blue cheese

Whisk bacon fat, sour cream, milk, vinegar, salt, and pepper until smooth. Stir in the scallion and the blue cheese. Thin with additional milk if desired.

Home made Feta II

Well, here is the recipe for homemade feta. Although I had originally wanted to do a taste and texture comparison between raw and conventional milk, I decided that I didn't need to know. I love that we use raw milk and the cheese was superb. The salty and briny flavor of this feta is balanced by the silky texture of the cheese. It's quite wonderful. The nice thing about this recipe is that you use milk vs. goat's milk which keeps the cost down once you've gotten your supplies. Hope you will try it and give me some updates, especially if you're using conventional milk. We'll set up a taste test and see how they are different. As always, only use pasteurized milk not ultra-pasteurized. I would not recommend making cheese with raw milk unless you are 100% confident with your farmer and do not assume any liability should things go south. Enjoy.


Also, a link to a great thermometer for accuracy.