Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cooking with Auden: Apple Sauce

As I have written before, why buy apple sauce? The jarred stuff is full of sugar and who knows what else. It is easy to make and can be made to the exact taste of the person eating it.

Auden has always been a huge fan of apple sauce, and this was the first time that he really got to make it almost entirely on his own.

Apple and Pear Sauce
apples and pears
water, OJ or cider
seasoning (e.g. cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, all spice, cloves...etc)

Start by peeling the apples and pears.

Once peeled, slice into pieces.

Chop into big pieces. No need to use a super sharp knife, use something kid safe.

Place the apples and pears in a pot and add a touch of liquid and the seasoning to taste.

Cook, covered until the apples are soft. Then mash using a food mill.

As always, the taster gives it a thumbs up.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Baked potatoes

Baked potatoes are so easy and versatile. This simple "recipe" is great and makes a perfect potato every time. By coating the outside with oil, the inside stays light and fluffy and the outside becomes crispy without drying out.

Coat the potatoes with just a touch of oil and season with salt and pepper.
Bake in 375 oven for about an hour, until they are crispy on the outside and soft and hot on the inside.

When they come out they are wonderful just the way they are with a touch of butter and salt and pepper.

I sauteed some broccoli and topped with a touch of fontina.


Polenta is great base for all kinds of flavors, it can be served soft or cooled in a pan and cut into shapes, then grilled or pan fried. The basic recipe calls for just two ingredients, corn meal and water, so is easy to make at the last minute.

3 1/2 cups water or stock
1 cup corn meal
salt and pepper
cheese to taste (I used goat and Parm)

Start by boiling the stock.

Add the corn meal and constantly stir as it thickens.

After about 15 minutes, the mixture will thicken to a porridge consistency. Then add the cheese and season with salt and pepper. It can be served warm at this point.

If you are to make pieces to cook late, lightly brush a pan with oil and spread the hot polenta in. Smooth the top and cool until firm.

While this cools, I made a quick tomato sauce. Saute half of an onion over medium heat for about 10 minutes, then add about half a can of tomatoes. Cook over medium for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

After the polenta has cooled, it can easily be cut into pieces. You can use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes. Dust with flour and pan fry in a touch of oil until golden on both sides.

Serve with the sauce, and a touch more goat cheese.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Arroz Caldoso

Similar to paella, arroz caldoso is a baked spanish rice, though it is wetter. You can use almost any fish or shellfish, I had shrimp so thats what I used.

Arroz Caldoso
3 cups stock (prefereably fish, but others work too)
1 lb shrimp
1 medium onion, diced
2 - 3 tomatoes, diced
2 - 3 garlic
1 cup short grain rice (arborio works)
salt and pepper

Place the stock and saffron in a pot and simmer. Pre-heat oven to 350.

Saute the shrimp in oil for a few minutes on a side until slightly browned on each side.

Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, heat a touch more oil and saute the onions for about 5 minutes over medium high.

Add the garlic and saute one minute more.

Add the tomato and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the rice and cook for a minute to coat.

Add the broth, and cook over medium heat.

Once the rice is no longer soupy, place in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Cook for about 10 minutes, then add the shrimp. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until the rice is almost done. Then remove from the heat, cover for about 5 minutes.

Serve the rice with a side of aioli.

2 -3 garlic cloves
1 tsp fresh lemon juice or vinegar
1 egg yolk
about 1/2 EVOO

Crush the garlic with the salt in a mortar and pestle.

Add the egg and lemon and stir.

Slowly drip the oil into the garlic while constantly stirring until the mixture becomes thick.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fireman's hat Cake

I am going to go over how to make a fireman's hat cake. This is less about the recipes used and more about the construction.

I started by making the shield out of gum paste and letting it dry for a couple of days so it was stiff.

I made three 9in round cakes and one 9 x 13. All chocolate (as if there is a choice).

I started by stacking the rounds and layering with chocolate buttercream.

I stated by carving the back, which was easier, then moved to the front.

Cover the dome with chocolate buttercream.

Cut down the base card board and place on top of the 9 x 13. I used several supports to hold the top of the bottom.

Then cover the base and smooth the edges.

For the ribs in the hat, I used modeling chocolate. Then covered the whole cake red buttercream.

After several passes, i smoothed out the red frosting.

I wrote the "LEO" and "2" on the shield and affixed it to the front.

To finish, I put the cake on a platter and added red, orange and yellow paper to give a fire effect.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kohlrabi apple salad

This was a really easy and tasty salad. I had never had kohlrabi and and was not sure what to do with it. It has a similar crunchiness as hicama or radish. After a bit of hunting and a few modifications, came up with this recipe.

Kohlrabi Apple Salad
1 medium kohlrabi, peeled and julienned
1 large firm apple, julienned
lemon slice

1 glove garlic
salt and pepper
2 - 3 sprigs thyme
1 Tbs dijon mustard
2 Tbs wine vinegar
4 - 5 Tbs EVOO

Start by peeling and julienning the kohlrabi and apple.

To prevent browning of the apple while you prepare the dressing, place the apple and kohlrabi in a large bowl, cover with water and squeeze in the lemon.

To make the dressing, with a mortar and pestle crush the garlic with salt and add the thyme. Mix until a paste forms, add the mustard and vinegar and mix until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the EVOO as you stir to combine.

Drain the apple and kohlrabi and pat dry. Toss with the dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Parsnip celeriac soup

This is another simple soup. The parsnip and celeriac are both fairly subtle so be generous with the herbs.

Parsnip Celeriac Soup
1 onion, diced
2 - 3 parsnips, peeled and diced
1 celeriac, peeled and diced
4 - 6 cups stock or water
lots of fresh herbs (i used thyme and oregano)
salt and pepper

Start by sauteing onion in oil. Cook for 5 minutes until the soften and start to brown.

Add the parsnip and celeriac. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes to soften and brown slightly. If they stick, add a little water to release from the pan.

Add the stock and herbs. Cook partially covered about 30 minutes until everything is soft.

Puree the mixture until smooth. Add more liquid to thin to the desired consistency.

I made a quick herb sauce by sauteing herbs and garlic in oil then pureeing to make a paste.

Serve with croutons or bread for dipping.