Thursday, March 11, 2010

30 down... now what

So last night was the last of my 30 day 30 recipe challenge. As to be expected there were some great new dishes that came out of this, definitely things that I will try to incorporate into our routine. There were also a few that were not so good, but that is also the challenge.

So my question to YOU is:

What should my next challenge be?

I will take any and all suggestions...the best one will even get a prize.


roasted root veggies

One of the things that we periodically get from Irv and Shelley's is a soup mix of root veggies. This time I actually followed the recipe on the back of package for roasting them. The sauce had a nice flavor, but I need to almost quadruple the amount to get the flavor to come through.

Roasted Veggies
4 Tbs Soy Sauce
4 Tbs Maple Syrup
4 Tbs Olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 - 3 cloves garlic sliced
1 - 2 thyme
about 3 lbs root vegetables

Mix the dressing on a small bowl.

Cut the vegetables into even pieces, and toss with dressing.

Lay the vegetables on a tray.

Bake in a 450 deg oven for about 45 minutes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I have been told by many people that Gail's Brownies are the best and that there is no need to be messing around. I came across this recipe in Martha Stewart Living this month and figured I give it a try.

Double Chocolate Brownies
12 Tbs butter
9 oz dark chocolate
2 1/4 cup sugar
5 eggs
3/8 cup cocoa powder
2/3 tsp salt
3/4 plus 3 TBS flour

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment, allowing it to cover the sides as well. Melt the chocolate and butter in double boiler.

Add the sugar and stir to combine.

Mix in the eggs, one at a time.

Add the cocoa and salt.

Add the flour.

Pour into the pan and bake about 30 minutes.

Let cool in pan slightly, then lift out using the parchment. Remove the parchment and let cool completely before cutting.

Homemade Cheese

In my never ending quest to make great pizza, I figured the best way was to make everything myself. This brought me to making my own cheese. I was pointed to the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company and their "easy" kits.

There is no question that purely from a step by step stand point, this was fairly easy...but from a culinary standpoint I have a greater appreciation that is cheese making. Cheese making is definitely one of those culinary adventures that balances the art and science. You are turning liquid milk, via some crazy chemical reactions, into solid cheese. It is cool process, but one that I surely need way more practice at. Luckily, the kit has enough to make another dozen recipes, so I have some time.

Here is the recipe that I used to make mozzarella, everything you need except the milk comes in the kit.

1 Gallon milk
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 tsp citric acid
1/4 tablet rennet
1 tsp salt

Start by dissolving the rennet in 1/4 cup water and the citric acid in 1 cup water.

In a large stainless pot, add the milk and pour in the citric acid solution stirring to combine.

Heat the milk to 90 deg.

Take off heat and add the rennet and stir for about 30 seconds. Let rest with a lid for about 5 minutes.

This is where all that crazy chemistry happens, the solution should now for a curd, with a clear whey liquid.

Using a long knife slice the curd and return to the burner. Slowly heat the mixture to 110 deg while stirring.

Heat a pot of water to 185 deg. Pour off the whey and then strain the curds.

Dip the curds into the hot water to slowly heat it up to about 135 deg. At this point the cheese will be stretchy. Pull cheese and add in the salt.

After the stretching form a ball.

Submerge the cheese in cold water to cool off the cheese.

What better way to use it then on pizza.

So for my first attempt it wasn't exactly a huge success. The result was a but tough. I guess I need to try again.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Ok so technically I did not need a recipe for this, but I am true to my challenge.

I was flipping through Martha Stewart Living and came across this and it worked perfect as I had just the right amount of bread.

Roasted Garlic with Parmesan
1 head garlic
about 1/2 loaf baguette
1 - 2 Tbs EVOO
salt and pepper

Slice of about 1/4 inch of the top of the garlic. Place on parchment and drizzle with about 1 Tbs oil and season with salt and pepper.

Wrap the garlic in the parchment then in foil and bake in 475 deg oven about 30 - 40 minutes until golden and soft.

Cut the bread and drizzle with oil, toast until lightly browned. To serve, shave the cheese with a peeler and serve with the garlic and toast.

Monday, March 8, 2010


After a few successful recipes last week, I thought I would give fennel another go. This is a simple recipe. Letting the salad rest, allows the flavors to blend nicely.

This too is from the Moosewood Cooks at Home.

Fennel and Orange Salad
1 fennel bulb
2 oranges (I used blood oranges)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbs EVOO
salt and pepper to taste

Remove the tops of the fennel and thinly slice.

Place in a bowl. Section the orange and squeeze the extra juice into the bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

cooking with Auden: Popovers

We were looking for some fun cooking activity we could do and I remembered that I had Pretend Soup.

This recipe was perfect for Auden to do (almost) all on his own.

Pop Overs
1 - 2 Tbs butter
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/4 salt

Preheat the oven to 375 deg. While its warming place the muffin pan with a little butter in each cup in the oven for a few minutes until soft. Then using a brush, spread the butter around the cups.

Break the eggs in a large bowl.

Add the milk and mix until combined.

Add the flour.

Pour the batter into the cups, filling about 2/3.

Bake for about 30 minutes. Serve with jam or honey.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Jerusalem Artichokes

I love the fact that when you look up Jerusalem Artichokes, everyone is quick to point out that they are neither from Jerusalem nor an artichoke. Personally I think that is what makes the name so interesting.

Here is a simple preparation from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Crispy Sunchokes
About 1 - 1 1/2 lbs sunchokes
3 - 4 Tbs olive oil
1 - 2 cloves garlic, diced
parsley to garnish
lemon wedges

Thinly slice the sunchokes.

In a large skillet warm the oil and add the sunchokes, cooking over medium high heat.

Cook for about 15 minutes until cooked and crispy. Season with salt and pepper and top with parsley. Serve with lemon wedges.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Edamame Dip

Sometimes I go looking for a recipe, others they just come to me. I saw this yesterday on the Bon Appetit blog and thought it would be tasty. As it turned out, not as Auden friendly as I had suspected.

Edamame Dip with Pita Chips
3 pita breads, split horizontally, each round cut into 1 1/2-inch wedges
1 12-ounce bag frozen shelled edamame (2 1/3 cups), unthawed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil plus sprigs for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Scatter pita pieces on large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake until crisp, 15 minutes; cool.

Cook edamame in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid.

Place edamame, oil, and 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid in processor. Blend until smooth, drizzling in 1/4 cup cooking liquid and lemon juice. Season dip with salt and pepper. Blend in more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if too thick. Add minced basil; pulse until basil is just mixed in (do not puree).

Transfer dip to bowl. Garnish dip with basil sprigs; serve with pita chips.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Broccoli with sundried tomatoes

Sometimes the simplest things turn wonderful when you pull it together. Unfortunately this did not quite live up to it. I found this broccoli recipe from the Field of Greens, one of my favorite cookbooks. Usually wonderful and interesting, this was a bit flat. Oh well.

Broccoli with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts
1 head broccoli
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
5 Tbs EVOO
salt and pepper
2 - 3 undried tomatoes, cut into strips
1 Tbs pine nuts, lightly toasted

Make the dressing by mixing the vinegar, oil, garlic and salt and pepper.

Boil or steam the broccoli until tender.

Mix with the dressing, pine nuts and tomatoes.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Last night I had an urge for lasagna, only my wife is not such a big fan of ricotta. So I went on search for a recipe that did not have any. I found this simple recipe, but made a few changes. I did not have onion so used leeks instead and I added a spinach puree to the top.

Tomato and Mozzarella Lasagna
  • 1 - 2 onions or leeks, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 - 2 (28- to 32-oz) cans crushed tomatoes in thick purée
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 - 2 TBS fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 lb dry no-boil lasagne
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella (smoked or plain), chilled and coarsely grated (3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

Start by melting the butter with oil in a medium pot. Add the leeks or onion and herbs. Cook over medium until softened.

Add the tomato, and cook over medium about 15 minutes until thickened and flavors blended.

Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Soak the pasta in warm water for about 20 minutes until softened.

In a 9 x 13 baking dish, pour in about half the sauce, then layer with pasta sheets.

Top with half the cheese, and another layer of pasta.

Add the rest of the cheese and top with a final layer of pasta. Then top with the remaining sauce.

I added a layer of pureed spinach. In a blender combine fresh spinach, garlic and basil and puree until smooth. Add a touch of oil and water to thin.

Bake in a 375 deg oven about 30 minutes, then finish under the broiler for a minute or two to nicely brown.